You want input from your employees and partners on your branding strategy, but you cannot afford the risk of the input getting out of control.
Why the big risk?
You are two-thirds of the way toward finishing your brand strategy development. And, while you are seeking input from others, you cannot afford the input to needlessly and non-strategically unwind the branding strategy work you have already finalized.
One option is to not seek any input. Another is to stipulate certain topics are off limits. Another is to have a town hall type meeting (a few individual speakers with lots of listeners) so people have to acknowledge (if they're being honest) they were in the room as the branding strategy was discussed, even if very few of them had a chance to offer ideas.
All of those options are weak.
Not soliciting input sets you up for multiple issues, including looking as if you are trying to hide something. Taking certain topics off the table makes it OBVIOUS you are hiding something. Holding a town hall meeting runs the risk of exposing your most negative and toxic audience members to the widest possible audience.
3 Ways to Invite Productive Branding Strategy Input
The far better alternative is bringing your larger audience together and maximizing the benefit of the input they provide through several techniques:
- Have them work in small groups (which you assign or let naturally develop) so each person has a greater opportunity to contribute.
- Give them specific questions to respond to that focus on areas where you need input you can actually consider and incorporate.
- Provide a way to capture their input and conversations in a way they can easily share it with you.
Using this type of approach, you can focus interested brand participants on topics that are additive to your branding strategy. And it ideas or other input surfaces that runs counter to your strategic direction, you can see it in the small group output and react in a sound strategic way – rather than having to field a hot question off-the-cuff in a big audience setting.
Want to learn more about the opportunity and value of incorporating more voices in developing strategy? Download our latest RESULTS!!! mini-book to learn more about the advantages of dramatically growing the perspectives shaping your strategy. Do you have many things you want your employees to understand about your corporate branding strategy, what they should be doing to carry it out, and how they should interact with customers to fulfill your brand promise? – Mike Brown