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Rebranding tips for CEOs: Engage employees & middle management

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

Successfully rebranding a company from the top-down means listening to your customers and your employees, then engaging middle management as influencers to keep momentum going. Ralph Vasami, CEO of Universal Weather and Aviation, shares their strategy for gaining brand alignment.

Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I’m Robin Tooms, vice-president of strategy at Savage Brands. And my guest again today is Ralph Vasami, CEO at Universal Weather and Aviation. So Ralph, welcome back to Brandonomics.

Ralph: Thanks again, Robin. Good to be here.

Robin: I’m so thrilled you’re back because I’ve heard a couple stories now about how you’ve talked about the brand launch at Universal Weather, but obviously you’re not the marketing director. You’re the CEO, and you probably have a lot of great advice to share with other CEOs that are in your position. So I’d love for you to share some advice today.

Ralph: I think for a CEO, if you’re gonna really rebrand the company or reposition the brand, they have to take the time to go out and listen not only to their customers, but also to their employees and find out what’s important to both. Because when you really have true alignment and engagement from the employees right on through to the customers, to me, that’s how the brand will start to come alive every day and have meaning. And it’ll have emotional meaning when your people are aligned to their needs. Okay? So in order to achieve that, you have to have a lot of humility. You have to be willing to listen. You have to be willing to accept new ideas.

Robin: Yeah. We may not be doing it right right now.

Ralph: That’s right. And it may challenge your conventional wisdom, but I think if you show humility and really listen, I think that will go a long way.

Robin: Okay. So that is a great place to start.

Ralph: Sure.

Robin: So once you’ve gotten past that initial hurdle, how do you keep all that momentum going, all that goodwill that you’ve built up?

Ralph: To me, there’s only one way it can sustain. Okay? It may not be the only way, but, for me, I can’t think of how I can do it in my company, because we’re global, without engaging middle management. It can’t just stay at the top. It can’t be just something from the C-suite. The message has to permeate throughout, and the key is if your middle managers and supervisors understand it, are engaged in that process, they’re the ones that interact with your people in the trenches every day dealing with the customers. And most times, if they say it, it’s true. If the C-suite says it, it’s, “Eh, that’s just them.”

Robin: So the key there is turning those middle managers into true influencers within the company.

Ralph: You bet. You bet. They’ve gotta embrace this, and they’ve got to run it every day.

Robin: Okay. Well, thank you. That is great advice.

Ralph: Sure.

Robin: Appreciate that.

Ralph: You’re welcome.

Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.


Universal Weather & Aviation shares a purpose with its clients as they navigate a complex world – the success of their trip. The global business aviation trip management company empowers its 1,700 employees to share clients’ sense of urgency and exhaust their global resources to meet the needs of those who utilize business aviation.

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If you’re interested in knowing more about how purposeful companies attract the best employees, build loyal relationships with their customers, and differentiate themselves from their competition, then let’s start a conversation.