A team effort: Getting staff on board with brand strategy
When setting out to build an awesome brand, people tend to think in outward-facing terms.
How can we present our organization to people so they’re compelled to engage with us? What’s the first thought that pops into folks’ minds when they think of us? What feelings do they experience when they interact with us?
These questions are vital. And so is paying close attention to your external audiences. But your brand must first be fully adopted internally in order to truly be effective out there in the world.
Big Duck utilizes brand strategy to help organizations make smart decisions around both shaping their voice and then singing in harmony using that voice. Brand strategy is comprised of positioning and personality, the former being the big idea audiences hold in their mind about you and the latter being the tone and style you want people to experience with you.
Often, the responsibility of owning and implementing that brand strategy sits with whoever wears a communications hat on staff—it could be a department or even a single staff member. But that actually doesn’t let the rest of your team off the hook.
Everyone has a role to play in helping your brand reach its fullest potential.
The internal process of getting everyone on staff feeling aligned, accountable, and inspired can determine how effective your brand strategy will be when it reaches your audiences. We have an ebook that goes into this topic in more depth, and here are some tips for bringing staff along on the brand strategy journey:
Introducing brand strategy
When you’re ready to implement your brand strategy, start out by having a celebratory conversation with everyone on your team. Explain or revisit the reasons you took on this work (i.e., we want to reach a new audience group, we see an opportunity to express ourselves more clearly). The easiest way to get people on board is to explain why it will benefit your organization.
Explain how it will benefit them: their departments, their roles, etc. Be ready to speak to the brand strategy’s potential to make processes smoother, decisions easier, and roles clearer.
For example, picture a marketing email. Both the drafting of that email—the language used, the imagery, the important idea to communicate—as well as the feedback process—who reviews, what they should be keeping an eye out for—should incorporate the objective lens of brand strategy, saving time and headaches across departments.
Getting specific with brand training
Breaking down your brand strategy in department-tailored workshops and trainings may make the tool easier for staff to digest and ultimately use. Some teams will be primarily concerned with the visual applications of brand strategy, using it to steer how this season’s flyer looks or what photo to use as your website’s hero image. They might benefit from a training that talks through how positioning and personality are brought to life in photography, colors, etc.
Likewise, you may have folks on staff who produce a lot of writing for you. They might most benefit from a workshop session that dives deep into the kind of language that reflects your personality.
In addition to workshops, consider creating guiding documents for reference. We recommend using a digital brand guide for keeping your brand strategy, messaging, and visual toolkit available for easy editing and access.
Depending on your brand needs, you might also want to throw some designed templates like social media headers and event flyers into your brand guide as well, or perhaps “words to avoid” or “phrases we love” guidelines that will help people write in your voice.
Making space to reflect
Branding is not a process with a beginning or an end. Check in with everyone at your organization periodically (perhaps twice a year) to hear how your brand strategy is working for them.
Ask people for feedback: What’s been successful? What’s been challenging? Invite folks to share their experiences using these new tools as a way to inspire your team and offer learnings. Your brand is ever-adaptable, and should grow with you. Continue to nurture it internally and your organization’s brand will be authentic, consistent, and strong when it reaches your audiences.