I have been working with SharePoint for quite some time now with SharePoint 2003, 2007 and 2010. Having worked on numerous projects, it allowed me to see SharePoint as a platform, which allows companies to map their business processes, build Intranets and Extranets. It changes the way people see them from outside through a Public Facing site as well as other scenarios. Throughout my personal experiences of meeting different interesting people and evaluating their unique needs, it allowed me to touch many aspects of SharePoint like Governance, Information Architecture, Taxonomy, Server Architecture, Site Architecture and of course today’s topic, Branding.
I am not a developer nor am I a graphic designer but I have lost many hours getting that Team Site, Publishing Site, Web Part and even the Search Results to look the way that I wanted.
Some questions started popping in my mind like “Why do I feel it is so important for that logo to appear exactly the way I wanted it to? Why am I spending so many hours getting the global navigation to look the way I had planned it? Why is the Quicklaunch getting a makeover right now? Why do I spend time on TopSharePoint.com ?”.
And most importantly, “Why does the SharePoint Project only go into Production once it is perfectly Branded- even though it has been functional for quite some time?”
So why is it important to Brand?
Proud– As the person in charge of a Team Site, it is important for me that people that come and visit/collaborate with me on the Team Site are enthusiastic and interested. It is the same reason you always wear your favorite shoes, shirt to an important event; it is the image and feeling which it conveys which makes the item a staple of your wardrobe. Every Site Owner in SharePoint feels like their SharePoint Site is theirs.
Senses of belonging – Today, businesses have changed; they have taken very different inventive methods to give a sense of identity, of partnership to their employees. Why? Because it is believed that someone that is proud of where he works, that feels responsible or attached to his work, will use their skills and talents to their full potential. Just as large product companies develop Brand recognition through their website, it is no different with a SharePoint Site directed and used by the employees.
Would you show me your SharePoint? – I started asking this question to some at the SharePoint Summit in Québec and most of them tried to either evade the question with a grin, letting me know that it wasn’t really something they were proud of or were still using the out of the box look and feel.
Why not use SharePoint as an opportunity to showcase you- change your answer to yes.
Starting to Brand SharePoint
In coming weeks I will throw myself into this mystical world of branding to better understand how to apply it in SharePoint Sites. I will take apart the Site piece by piece, and see everything that we can do to it and how. I will show you the steps I took to get something to work, but I will also share with you the problems I encounter.
A friend of mine recommended I read this article:
I strongly recommend you read this article, if like me, you feel it’s time you took your SharePoint Site to the next level with Branding. Yes it takes a good day to get through, but is an easy read and very informative.
Stay in touch as we go through this Branding experience together.
But meanwhile, would you show me your SharePoint?