Larger companies seem to embrace a fractured approach to establishing their forward-facing voice since there are many departments, properties, divisions and the list goes on. Startups have mastered this aspect of branding strategy because they don’t have as much red tape and employees tend to rally together during a company’s embryonic phase. It’s fresh, new, collaborative and exciting.
Brand makeovers are not. As a content strategist, I have to find clever and tangible ways to position a brand and engage various audiences. So if you don’t have a branding team or branding strategists, what do you do?
Recently the question was posed on google groups in the content strategy forum. I find the strategist, content marketers, manager and gurus who respond to their fellow colleagues quite knowledgeable and free of jargon, buzzwords and hype. They provide a launch pad each and every time there’s a query. One suggested branding exercises on http://innovationgames.com/product-box.Others recommend the age old card sorting exercise. I suggested that we herd the stakeholders with an outside agency but provide the exercises to them.
Research groups, focus groups and surveys are trusted tools but the results are often varied, difficult to manage and analyze and at times the questions are better than the answers provided. It’s a one size fits all approach.
Here are some creative suggestions:
1. Create a Pinterest board – use images from different sources and gather phrases/attributes that speak to the group. Share thoughts and vote for the virtual scrapbook which resonates most.
2. Attend storytelling workshops – I recommend Nancy Duarte’s book Resonate – present visual stories that transform audiences. Check out her speaking engagements and workshops: http://www.duarte.com/training/onsite/
3. Empower employees – Leverage internal resources as experts and let outside consultants and strategists gather the herd/results. Treat employees as partners in maintaining the brand mission.
4. Create a message map – Check out my prototype below for guidance.
COMPANY MESSAGE MAP