Yeah, but why!?

November 15th, 2018  •  3 minute read

Engaging people you didn’t invite to the branding workshop.

You’ve designed your business’ brand and strategy. You’re filled with confidence, pride and enthusiasm. The flip chart is being flipped at a rate of knots.

“This is what we’re going to look like, and this is where we want to be in 5 years,” you say, smiling at your team.

They stare back, puzzled. And then it comes — the dreaded question.

“Yeah, but why?”

It’s the child who’s learnt her dad doesn’t actually know everything after all. It’s the bloke in the meeting who has all the questions and none of the answers. And it’s the employee who doesn’t understand their company’s new brand strategy or why it’s important.

The truth is, whether your business is a startup, scaleup or an enterprise, brand development is only half the battle. The other challenge is implementation.

Your staff is not only potentially your greatest brand advocates, but they’re also the ones who realise your brand vision day-to-day through their business activities and communications.

But what if your brand strategy was designed behind closed doors amongst key decision makers? How do you onboard everyone else?

Well, a bland email isn’t going to solve anything.

Your staff doesn’t just need to know why they deserve to know.

So, engage them. Think of it as the three Rs.

Rationalise, Reference, Review.

Rationalise is personal

The first step should always involve human interaction, whether that’s a workshop or a presentation.

These work best when delivered by senior management as employees are more likely to feel heard and engaged. Give them the big picture. The collective objective. The process and rationale behind it. And create an open forum for your team to ask questions.

Reference is instructive

The next step involves words on paper. This is when your email comes in, or better still, employee guidelines and staff posters.

These reiterate what employees should have already been told, but get down to the nitty-gritty, like how the organisation handles annual performance reviews.

This part of the onboarding process is the time to create practical handbooks, such as tone of voice instructions and design guidelines. It’s about building reference materials robust enough for existing and new staff members to use when going about their work.

Review is regular

This is arguably the most important phase. It’s the check-in. Away-days and one-to-ones should be used to ensure employees understand their part in delivering the overall brand strategy.

Set objectives with your team that relate back to your organisational objectives. Make sure they understand how they fit into the wider business.

When your employees ask why that brand strategy was chosen, why it’s important, be sure to have the answer. Get them as excited as you are about the business direction and creating a smooth customer experience at every entry point.

Start from the top down. Make sure the senior team can explain the strategy simply, then onboard your managers, and then your other staff. That way, nobody will be left on the fence wondering why or how to achieve your vision for the business.