Random thoughts for today - total branding and communication

A few things I don't have time to write in depth about, but want to mention and hopefully will expand on in later posts:

1. An easy way to tell if your brand is aligned is to look at the quality of your meetings. If people are disengaged, unfocused, or focused on the wrong things (like side conversation/humor), 9 times out of 10 your brand is out of sync.

2. Teamwork is an overused word but it has a critical impact on brand alignment. If your organization is experiencing turf wars of any kind, particularly when it comes to policy people not communicating with brand people or brand people not collaborating with each other, your brand is not going to work. Remember, it's all about the OUTSIDE image...the purpose of internal communication is to feed into that.

3. Communicators need to train their clients NOT to ask for immediate communication plans. Any doofus can go onto Google or get a book and create a generic comm. plan (or consult the old comm. plan and rework it into a new one.) The job of a communicator is to CUSTOMIZE each plan individually for each situation. That means research, knowledge of the subject matter, coordination, meetings, etc. Doesn't have to take more than a week, but one day is just not reasonable.

4. Similarly to #3, communicators need to be at the table when their plan is presented to senior leadership. They created it, they understand the reasons behind it, and they need to be in a position to negotiate any changes with decision-makers directly.

5. Communicators are often tempted to "cave in" to difficult clients. This is understandable. We want the business and we won't get it if our working relationships are poor. At the same time, there is a need to hold the line and insist on some sort of integrity to a disciplined strategic communications approach. One way to handle this is to develop governance processes (e.g. guidelines, templates, councils, etc.) to stand in between the communicator and the client to keep them from getting out of control. Then the communicator has an overall structure to fall back on when the client's demands start getting unreasonable or when other communicators on the team start getting creative only for creative's sake.

6. The above is particularly important in the case of internal branding, where clients seem often to feel like since nobody outside will see their communications, they can be as "homemade" and sometimes outlandish as they want.

7. Going back to the last part of #5, creativity for creativity's sake is TERRIBLE IN EVERY WAY. It's bad for the brand (because it fragments the image), it's bad for the communications team (because it undermines their credibility), and it's bad for the organization (because it wastes time and money). Do everything you can to fight this cancerous form of communication.

8. Some people confuse an official seal with a brand. Never do that. A seal is not going to get you recognition outside the organization. A brand (encompassing a logo) will. You can have a seal, but your focus should be on the brand and accompanying logo.