There are lots of decisions to be made when you’re creating, refining or updating your brand. You need to make sure that everyone who needs to be involved has a meaningful way to contribute and that they feel consulted.
One important decision at the beginning of the process is agreeing how and when to involve people. This will depend on a lot of factors but these questions might help:
- Who do you legally have to include? If you’re a membership organisation changing your name, members might need to vote on it, for example.
- Which stakeholder group will the change have the biggest impact on? If you don’t communicate the change well to donors or customers and lose awareness this could lead to a loss of income, but if service users can’t find you any more they won’t be able to access the support they need – which is more important?
- How can you ensure that staff (and volunteers) feel included? Don’t underestimate how important this key group are.
- How do the board / trustees want to be involved? Are they happy with regular updates or do they want to be involved in every decision?
- How much time do you have? This will determine how many people you are able to engage with.
- What is your budget? When you’re planning how to spend it remember to allow money for engaging key stakeholders in the process.
Whatever change you are planning, try to make research part of the process. You can do this beforehand so you know exactly what the current situation is and where to focus your efforts. You can do it during the process to test options with focus groups of key audiences, to check they understand the new/updated brand in the way you want them to. Or you can do it afterwards, to check the changes have rolled out successfully – ideally in an annual and trackable way.
Ideally you would do all three but this can seem too expensive. Balance it up with the cost of doing it well and the benefits it will bring to your organisation.
The biggest reason for doing research, is that without it people who have to make decisions about the new/updated brand often fall into choosing changes based on personal preference, rather than the needs of the key audiences. Research gives those people a voice in the decision-making process. It can really help an organisations leaders make the right decision for the target audience.
If you’ve got some big decisions in your future we’d be happy to help. Come and have a chat, but first, tea or coffee?
Managing Director, JG Creative