The same people who think they are protecting the brand are killing it!
Let’s learn from some examples:
1. Your team refreshes the brand without stakeholder input: Learn from Coca Cola when customers were outraged by a brand/product change. Closer to home, a local university whose has changed leadership, in part because of a new brand campaign. In less than one year the new branding was dropped. The protests, petitions and lack of support became emotional due to feelings about the brand. Brand Protectors and Brand Promoters took to social media in a war of words that led to stakeholders withholding support. How to solve this: Engage stakeholders through meetings, contests and use the opportunity to secure feedback. Realize that people want to be part of the process not be told to change. Remember when a brand is created and has no followers change is easy, but when you have stakeholders you need to move at a pace that lets you engage not alienate.
2. Leaders are not enforcing communication deadlines: Learn from lack of communication and when deadlines are missed. Brand Protectors often stop Brand Promoters and hold up work while missing deadlines. Sadly, when people are not informed, rumors begin! How to solve this: A simple FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) can help your stakeholders to become supporters. When you think like a stakeholder and act like a stakeholder you can engage and deepen a relationship.
Your biggest critics can become your brand ambassadors.
3. Leaders are not watching how employees really treat customers: When your employees are telling customers how busy they are and not answering questions the customers will complain or go to your competitor. How to solve this: Surveys are great but a team of brand ambassadors who are customers can share concerns if you meet with them on a regular basis. Exit interviews are crucial, but watch how your team speaks to each other and seek Communication Training and Team Charter Training. Leaders who are not informed are often angry when they see non-compliance of employees. Yet employees will often say other priorities took the place of great customer service. Team Charters help the teamwork together to meet goals and create a culture of respect and productivity.
4. The team cannot answer the question “What is our brand?” : Your entire team should be able to answer this question and when they cannot you will see off brand events, confusing communication and brand design, lack of team interaction and arguments appear. Team members believe they are helping, but miss the mark because other team members see their efforts as OFF BRAND. How to solve this: Focus Groups give feedback and represent all stakeholders, communication is provided on a consistent timeline. Contests and requests for feedback happen that result in crucial information. Stakeholders are engaged in meetings and your team has created a list of what is brand and what is not brand. The Brand is consistently evaluated and elevated due to engagement and training.
5. Your team cannot answer the question, “What is our company culture?” When your team is confused because one person wrote the culture statement instead of using a Standards of Success interactive process with the entire team, you will have issues. Imagine a new employee trying to figure out what is acceptable while trying to figure out processes that build the team. How to solve this: Team Charters, Team Training and creating a Standards of Success will bond the team and make everyone Brand Ambassadors because they have contributed to building a culture. The training must be revisited or the culture will slide back to old behaviors that decrease revenue. The proof of this is in your own story. Think of a time you left a team or company because you lost faith in the culture. Anger sets in when team members feel unappreciated, rejected, unsupported, unprotected and uncertain of a future of your company. This behavior often is seen on social media and in aggression. Stop the threat and protect your company because Culture is not a trend it is the foundation of your company.
Katherine Miracle is the president of Miracle Resources, an award-winning full-service marketing, public relations and training firm that helps clients increase revenue and awareness.