In the age of industrial branding, companies turn frequently to agencies and specialists to create and redefine their brands.
There is art and science that goes into branding and rebranding. There is research, analysis, ideation, prototyping, testing, refining, rollout, education and tweaking. The best, authentic branding reflects a company’s purpose, its culture and the attributes that make it unique and better than any other in the world. I appreciate people and companies who do it well.
Here’s the nuance that gets the least attention but matters the most: You can come up with a brilliant brand strategy in your laboratory, with deep insights, deliberation and all the best intentions. But if your closest stakeholders — especially employees — don’t buy in, the whole effort won’t matter. They’ll be dispassionate at best, and reject it at worst.
That’s why it is imperative to include influential employees, customers and partners throughout branding development. Only through intensive listening to these folks can you really understand the raw components that create the foundation of your brand. Importantly, the socialization creates vested stakeholders and evangelists — as opposed to detractors.
Few branding or marketing experts will admit this truth: Most companies can succeed with a multitude of branding directions and variances. However, no brand will succeed if its employee and other influential stakeholders aren’t behind it along the way.
Creating a brand is easy, but getting your people to love it is hard.