12 Jul GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT
When you work somewhere 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, you’d think it would be easy to describe what your company does. However, get just two people from the same company in the same room and you’ll quickly discover disconnects in their understanding of the brand.
And this isn’t just at the employee level. We’ve sat in conference rooms and watched multiple C-suite leaders at the same company struggle to agree on who the audience is, what problem their product solves, how exactly their product solves it, and what their brand stands for.
To figure out if your people are all telling the same brand story, ask yourself a few questions:
Who is in charge of your brand?
As opposed to the B2C world, B2B brands are as often controlled by subject-matter experts as they are by marketers. Too often these leaders mistake their technical industry expertise for branding expertise and dictate the look, feel and messaging of the individual tactic or product with little regard for the larger brand. Get a few of these different SMEs from a few different departments putting their spin on your brand and you’ll soon have a brand that’s going in several different directions. Which is to say nowhere at all.
Do you have brand documentation?
It’s unreasonable to expect non-marketing experts to intuitively understand your brand. Heck, it’s unreasonable to expect even your marketing team to have an in-sync understanding of your brand. Written brand documentation can go a long way in getting everyone on the same page and communicating the same message. While this document can take many forms, at a minimum it should outline your brand promise, brand values, tone of voice and key brand messages. It can often be difficult for an organization to articulate and approve such a document. But that’s exactly why it’s so important to create it; better to work out issues during the drafting of the brand document than to have different groups executing on misaligned interpretations of what they think your brand should be.
Does everyone have access to your brand document?
Too often a marketing department will spend a large amount of time and money to create a written brand document, only to keep it to themselves. For everyone to be on the same page, everyone must have access to the same page! That means you need to share your brand document with everyone from senior leadership to marketing vendors to rank-and-file employees. Your brand shouldn’t just show up in your marketing; it should inform everything from major business decisions to how your employees speak to customers.
If you can articulate your brand and share it with staff at all levels, only then will you be able to ensure that everyone is on message with your marketing messages.