Clarifying and Articulation: Achieve Stakeholder Consensus
This article continues examining, in depth, the parts of the branding process that I introduced in my e-book, 17 Mistakes that Can Harm Your Brand. In the book, I outline five phases of the branding process:
The last part of the Clarifying and Articulation phase for the branding process is to achieve stakeholder consensus. There is a misconception relating to obtaining stakeholder consensus. The misconception is that the larger the organization the harder it is to obtain consensus. While it might seem logical and there may be some truth that the more people involved will result in more back-and-forth or disagreement, there is an even bigger problem facing smaller organizations: insouciance. The lack of concern or casual nature some smaller organizations take is derived from the mentality of “we can quickly change direction if needed.” This casual attitude can undermine a company’s positioning and clarity with customers.
Some years ago, I worked with a small agency that, over the course of a year, had gone through three different company names. These changes required re-educating customers as to what the business did as well as re-engaging brand ambassadorsas to what the differences were. These changes were driven by the C-level executives not having consensus with regard to the main focus and purpose of the company. This problem can be avoided in any organization by simply achieving consensus before rolling out any branding implementation.
So how do you achieve consensus? The first step is making sure that everyone involved in the branding process understands what it means to have consensus. Many believe that to have consensus means there is complete understanding and agreement. This is not what reaching a consensus means. To have consensus your stakeholders need to be willing to put aside their differences and reach an agreement and alignment.
If your aim is to reach complete agreement or a unanimous decision, this allows for the smallest disagreement to derail or prevent the completion of any discussion. Unfortunately, in any grouping of people a small grudge among two-coworkers can be the basis of a disagreement. By removing the misconception of what consensus means then you increase your likelihood of buy-off from your stakeholders.
For each stakeholder, their primary focus should be on understanding how the brand will impact their department. When stakeholders begin to focus their attention outside of the realm of their responsibility they can cause a mudding of the waters.
Consensus on What?
At this stage in the branding process the areas that need consensus are the parts of your brand platformand more. Focus on these areas:
- Brand Strategy
- Brand Promise
- Brand Mission
- Core Values
- Brand Voice and Personality
- Brand Differentiator
- Key Messaging
Reaching consensus is something that can take some time. Try running a small branding meeting that brings everyone together. With everyone together one person’s question or concern can be quickly talked about and addressed to move consensus forward.
As you have gone through the branding process within your organization is there an area that you feel will be tough to gain a consensus? Let us know below so that we can make your brand better.
Ideas To Make Your Brand Better Now:
- Compile all the items on which you need consensus.
- Set up a small brand meeting to gain consensus.
- Share your concerns related to gaining consensus below.
TERMS click to expand or collapse
Brand Ambassador: Any person, internal or external, who is passionate and speaks highly of your brand. An ambassador will stand up for your brand and promote its virtues even before the product is available to the masses.
C-Level Executives: Refers to the titles of the top-level senior executives within a company. These individual’s titles tend to start with “C” such as; Chief Executive Officer(CEO), Chief Financial Officer(CFO), Chief Operating Officer(COO), Chief Marketing Officer(CMO), Chief Information Officer(CIO). Sometimes referred to as C-Suite or simply C-Level.
Brand Promise: The expectation the brand owner has in relation to what the brand must do, is willing to do, and what it will provide their customers.
Brand Values: The heart and soul of a brand. Impacts every part of a brand from new hires to the CEO and owners.
Voice or Personality: The words and language which a brand uses to communicate and relate to their customers.
Brand-Positioning: How a brand defines their target audience, competitive differences, brand solutions, and their unique selling proposition (USP). Can also be referred to as brand positioning statements, brand strategy, brand essence, and positioning strategy.
Brand Strategy: A company’s long-term plan for the development of a brand into a success. Brand strategies include goals and affects all aspects of a business.
Brand Voice: The method and style in which your brand communicates with customers, projecting your brand personality.
Brand Mission: The short written out explanation of your brands purpose, defining your scope and direction in plain simple terms.