5 Typical Factors Preventing Brand Alignment
1. Lack of understanding about what branding is - misconception that it's just a logo or seal when in fact it's about rallying employees and the public around your clear, compelling MISSION or identity.
2. Fighting about who is going to get the spotlight - the sense that if the organization overall has a brand, then my particular subgroup will not get recognized for its work. Related to this, a lack of understanding of brand architecture - that a brand can be organized to accommodate various sub-brands without compromising the overall identity. The tendency is to think in extremes - either there is one brand overlord at HQ who won't let anyone else have their own identity, or there is a completely decentralized system where any logo goes.
3. Chain of command thinking - failure to see that a brand is only as good as the people who support it. You can't tell employees what to do and how to feel. You can only educate, motivate, and inspire them to be passionate advocates for your agency and its brand. And that is accomplished by letting them have a say in things. It's not necessarily that they tell you what the strategic messages should be, but that they are free to discuss internally and provide feedback on their experiences with stakeholders and the brand - and that informs you about how the brand is shaped. This means the agency is sensitive to emotional intelligence type issues and preferably has an organizational development expert on staff who can help to nurture this environment.
4. Lack of coordination around developing and deploying the brand. It's everybody's "business" and must be a coordinated effort among all employees, even those who would seem to be the furthest from marketing.
5. Lack of objective thinking/metrics around the brand. By this I mean the tendency to think impressionistically or anecdotally about it rather than taking a fact/research-based approach. How do people perceive the organization and how should they perceive it? Do customers know where to go to get what they need? Are there any kind of numbers to support these conclusions? These are the kinds of things that senior leadership needs to see to support a brand initiative.
Copyright 2015 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. Dr. Blumenthal is founder and president of BrandSuccess, a corporate content provider, and co-founder of the brand thought leadership portal All Things Brand. The opinions expressed are her own and not those of any government agency or entity or the federal government as a whole.