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How do I get my team to engage with brand?

Short Read

This was one of the key questions raised at our recent talk ‘Unlocking The Value of Digital Transformation’.

The panel members were discussing the challenges of digital transformation projects after one of our audience members admitted the struggles of getting their team engaged.

The question opened up a great discussion about how to engage the wider business in changes, such as a new brand vision or identity. Whatever the project, be it a rebrand, a brand evolution or a large-scale digital transformation project, we all know that success relies on the engagement of the individuals within the organisation.

When it comes to change, there needs to be a story that is communicated to teams to ensure there are no unwelcome surprises. That story is made up of a number of components that, if overlooked, can cause the fear, confusion and anxiety that come with organisational change. Below is the tried-and-tested ‘Managing Complex Change’ model that works as a good checklist to ensure all of the storytelling components are being addressed:

Adapted from the Managing Complex Change Model (M. Lippitt, 1987; T. Knoster, 1991)

 

Each component of the model is vital for different reasons. The Vision component, for example, is where brand plays a particularly important part. This component involves communicating the business’s aspirations and vision of the future, as well as explaining why there is a business need for the brand work. Everyone’s focus on the future needs to be kept so people can see past the change. Whereas, if the business lacks a clear brand strategy or vision, this future-focused message is difficult to maintain during periods of change. Having a unifying brand purpose and vision helps to excite and motivate everyone in the business.

Quite often in branding projects, businesses, and agencies focus only on the external audience: customers, investors, and media. They overlook that one of the key audience groups that should be consulted and engaged with are their own colleagues. Just as you would gather insights on customers, you need to gather insights on your own colleagues.

Below are a few key tips on how to do this:

Use empathy mapping – A common UX tool, empathy maps help you put yourself in your user’s shoes – what they’re seeing, what they’re hearing, what they say or do, what their fears are, what motivates them etc. This will help you to build a picture of what you need to communicate through the journey to keep them involved.

Identify your advocates – Most of the time, we know who our core supporters are. Use them throughout the process as your tester group to gather on-the-ground insights and feedback on the brand development. Not only will this ensure that the brand really does resonate internally, but it will ensure that, at launch, you have a ready-made team of brand ambassadors that can help manage any remaining concerns.

Create ‘brand engagement groups’ – They will be your internal testers throughout the process – use them to test your strategy and creative. This creates a group of engaged advocates of the new brand.

Create an internal launch plan – Just as you would for launching externally, plan out how you are going to launch the new brand to the team. Think about creating activities and actions in three stages; awareness, understanding, and advocacy. Firstly, ensure everyone in the business is aware of the changes to come, as well as how it will affect them. Secondly, help them to understand the new strategy or brand identity. You want your team to feel comfortable with how it applies to them and their day-to-day work. Lastly, use your team of advocates to embed the new brand from the ground up.

As mentioned earlier, the key to success for every brand project is engagement of the wider business. Every step will be easier if they are clear on the aims and the plan for the work being undertaken, as well as how it will affect teams across every level of the business. Change is hardly ever easy, but thinking inside-out will certainly help the success of your brand.

Struggling with internal engagement?

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