An article by Gilmar Wendt, a business design strategist and the principal of GW+Co, caught our attention on Branding Mag and we wanted to share our thoughts on it with you. Like the author, we firmly believe that culture and strategy must be in total sync to get things done. To satisfy consumers who demand authenticity, brand and culture must be aligned.
As professionals, we gain a thorough understanding of a brand's values, purpose, and promise as we work to develop it. But what about the people who deliver them? Do they comprehend these ideas? Do they feel involved in the process of implementing brand strategy? Everyone claims that a brand's greatest asset is its people – so why are they so often excluded?
Many businesses struggle not with the expression of their brand promise, purpose, and values, but with engaging their employees in their activation. This can be overcome by involving more people in their creation, from internal employees to customers.
Consumer brand' collaborations' are known for tie-ins that are meant to appeal to multiple audiences. Visionary brands, on the other hand, look beyond the high-profile collaborators who bring obvious benefits and engage people in the broadest sense – employees, customers, and communities.
Today, the strategy must be conceived and implemented quickly, which means gathering insight directly from the source. Too many businesses base their plans on assumptions. And, in today's integrated world, too many organizations continue to use the industrial top-down management style, which is doomed to fail at innovation. There's a lot of talk about people, but when we dig deeper, we find the same old divisions: blue-collar vs. white-collar; sales vs. marketing; them vs. us. The most successful businesses are those in which everyone pulls in the same direction, driven by a common goal and a clear vision. And to do so, these divisions must be bridged.
Cross-regional, cross-functional, and cross-hierarchical projects produce the best results in our experience, as well as in Gilmar Wendt's expertise. It can take some time for people to understand other people's points of view, and it can feel like opening a can of worms at first as uncomfortable truths are confronted. However, the alternative is to keep everything under the lid! Motivation, performance, and innovation will thrive with the right approach that facilitates different perspectives to build a common vision. Making assumptions about your customers leads to bad products, and making assumptions about your employees leads to attrition and, at best, cynicism and apathy. At worst, it leads to disillusionment, and they eventually leave.
We believe that successful businesses have aligned culture, strategy, and brand. Inviting more people to participate in the development of a brand unleashes enormous potential and benefits all functions. The days of a few people deciding what everyone else should think are long gone. If you want your employees to be on board, don't just tell them; involve them. A collaborative approach is required. The healthiest brands are those that are co-created from the ground up every day.
Here's the link to Gilmar Wendt's article for further reading: https://www.brandingmag.com/gilmar-wendt/people-are-a-brands-most-valuable-assets-why-not-involve-them/