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Common issues we discover during brand discovery

Branding, Strategy

At B&Y, we take a 360-degree approach to brand discovery — helping companies define who they are internally so we can turn that into an authentic brand externally. Brand discovery is always worth it, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some challenges along the way.

At times, discussions during the brand discovery process can reveal tension between leadership and departments or communication and expectation issues throughout the organization. But here’s the interesting part: revealing these discrepancies is a GOOD THING. By wading through the murky water together, we can come out the other side with a brand promise that unifies internal teams and connects with customers.

To help you in your brand discovery process, we’ve outlined a few of the more common challenges we’ve experienced…and how knowing and combatting them can make your company and brand stronger than ever.

1. Unaligned leaders

Believe it or not, this may be the most common challenge we run into with our clients. Leadership from the board through the executive team simply aren’t on the same page about who the company is, who they want to be and who their customers think they are. This is usually caused by any number of things, but we often simply hear that unclear communication is the culprit. Each player on the team has their own vision of how the brand should be perceived based on their area of expertise. Finance people have a different perspective than HR and marketing. Interestingly, we often find that the executive team thinks they are all on the same page.

It is only when we begin one-on-one interviews that we start to see the inconsistencies appear. By bringing these findings to the front, leadership can quickly align on a pathway forward and continue on the path toward a truly authentic brand position that works for each department.

2. Different approaches/views of goals

What is the most impactful part of establishing a brand identity and position? It helps you connect better with customers, right? Or, does it help your recruiting team tell a better story during the hiring and onboarding process? Or, does it provide a ‘corporate lens’ to help you evaluate important decisions? No, it helps validate the pricing structure and educates consumers on the value of their purchase, correct?

It’s very common for department heads to all have their singular use of the brand story in mind and never share that with their peers. This generally becomes clear when certain team members object to very strong and accurate positioning lines or definitions of the brand because it doesn’t feel right to them.

As we drill down into that feeling of discontent together, there are often “aha” moments where team members can share the true impact and value they want the brand statement to have. It is in these discussions where someone from another department will say something like “Wow, I guess I never really knew that about your day-to-day. Is that a major challenge for you? I can help by doing X, Y, Z.” This clarity of role and purpose can be invaluable and can energize teams even as the specific brand positioning is being created.

3. Different definitions of words/concepts

This challenge is so simple that it seems unlikely, right? In our experience, that’s not the case. With the amount of industry jargon and slang that is used in today’s business world, clarity on the exact requests being made can be lost.

One example at its most basic: what is a brand? It means something different depending on who you ask and their experience with marketing. Many people associate the word “brand” with a logo or colors. To people who are in the marketing world, a brand is so much more than that — but other department heads may need educated about the rest of what the word “brand” means. This trend happens with many marketing buzzwords. So, what can you do? Simply taking a step back to ensure each word is properly defined and everyone is on the same page as to what a concept represents makes a huge difference in aligning disparate teams.

4. Impact across departments

“How does this apply to me?” or “I think this will make my job harder” aren’t uncommon to hear during brand discovery exercises. That’s because a wholesale positioning change has trickle-down effects that are hard to see. For example, your new positioning line that defines who you are likely impacts all of the onboarding/training materials. All sales presentations likely need to be adjusted. It may also make sense to adjust how raises and promotions are executed.

Making a change like this can be a huge commitment and investment. But, if the entire organization gets on board, it’s the biggest step you can take to developing an authentic, genuine brand. By creating a safe place for everyone to share concerns (and potential solutions) during this process, you’ll not only make everyone on the team feel heard and valued, you’ll also ensure the project keeps getting closer to completion.
Sure, the brand discovery process can get a bit messy at times. But we’re here to assure you that it can only lead to good things for your company and brand. At the end of the day, open and honest communication is crucial. By bringing us in as an outside partner, people feel more compelled and/or safe to share concerns. This creates an environment of collaboration and excitement that engages leaders and staff, which leads to better buy-in company-wide.

If you’re considering brand discovery for your company, product or service, get in touch. Our team is ready to make you the next brand discovery success story.