Welcome to the Keel insights
Brand positioning, culture and values are key for setting your business up for success, but when establishing these a lot of companies focus solely on the impact for their customers and prospects. While customer-first is great, this outward facing approach can mean they neglect their most valuable asset – their people. By looking inwards and focussing more on their staff and stakeholders, they can create alignment within the business to ensure the proposition and values are fully realised. This is where the real foundations of growth are established.
By ensuring you work the following steps into your process, you can create alignment within your business and produce values and a brand proposition that both your employees and customers will really get behind. Because if your staff don’t believe in the brand, it’s highly likely that your customers won’t either – the two really do go hand in hand.
Here’s how you can ensure you get stakeholder and employee buy-in for success:
Engage them from the start, and throughout
The temptation can be to start work with senior leaders and then create a big reveal for the wider business. Leadership teams often mistakenly think they know the business better than anyone and are best placed to make decisions on branding. But by involving employees at every level from the beginning, not only do you get a more rounded view of what the business means to your staff, but you are able to make them feel part of the process and give them the opportunity to influence the outcomes.
If your teams feel involved, they will feel more valued – and if they are given the opportunity to have some input in evolving the brand, they will feel a greater sense of ownership and pride in the final outcome.
Act on feedback
It’s one thing to involve your staff, but if you don’t listen to them then it’s a wasted exercise. There will always be a level of subjectivity, but when you are hearing the same feedback again and again, it is important not to ignore it. Take it on board, act on it and work with your employees to understand how you can make improvements. If you can’t act on particular feedback, or it runs counter to a strategic direction you’re trying to get off the ground, then explain that to them – feeling ‘inside the tent’ on decisions like these can be highly motivating. This takes their ownership to a new level and if they have helped to influence the outcomes, they will want to protect them too.
Establish what really matters
Understanding what really matters to your staff, your stakeholders and your customers can be a challenge, because sometimes they may be conflicting. But the way to establish what matters most is by measuring everything against your brand’s central truth – your purpose. Drawing everything back to your purpose will help you to make rational decisions about what should be implemented for your branding and values. Anchoring your decisions to your purpose will help keep you on the straight and narrow. Remember your purpose is simply the thing your business exists to do or achieve. Using that as a guiding direction should not feel limiting or frustrating, it should feel empowering.
Keep lines of communication open
Once you’ve involved the wider business, listened to their feedback, and then acted on it, it’s important not to leave them hanging. Regular updates will help to keep staff engaged in the process and will give them the opportunity to voice any opinions and concerns as things progress. Communication is vital to ensure the business remains on board with the process and gets behind the direction any new positioning is going in.
Choose your champions
Having advocates in the business is a great way to keep your whole workforce engaged. Not only can they act as a line of communication, but they can also help to galvanise the team and get them excited for any new direction. Change can be difficult for some people, no matter how small – so having the right people to encourage feedback and spearhead any new direction will set you up for success. Make sure you give them the tools and guidance they need to be effective advocates of the brand and keep checking in with them to see how they are getting on as they champion and gather feedback on your behalf.