You guys are so smart! I love it when you share a marketing technique that’s made all the difference in the world to you. There’s no better model for the rest of us.
Thanks today to Jennifer Johnson, director of marketing & communications at Advocates. I worked with Jen to develop a first-time brand for this human services agency providing a breadth of programs and services throughout Massachusetts. Here’s the inventive approach she designed to solicit prompt input throughout the brand development process:
Staff Members’ Perspectives & Priorities a Must-Have for Relevant Branding
You can imagine the complexity of marketing an organization that’s so diverse programmatically and geographically. And the broad range of staff members’ perspectives, wants, and concerns—a vital consideration in ensuring their honest input and full engagement in shaping and delivering the right brand and marketing agenda.
Launch Involved Staff from Across Advocates
We worked hard to shape a participation process, with staff teams representing each department’s point of view, to springboard brand development. This brand team was brought into the process from the very beginning via two group working sessions.
We began by thanking folks for their time and focus, and asked for their help in gathering and sharing perspectives and wants from their respective departments. Then we demonstrated the value of branding to each department (WIIFM) and Advocates overall, via models from peer organizations. We explained the brand development process we had in mind and then —partnering with staff participants—set clear roles and responsibilities for each of them. This well-designed launch positioned the process for success, and participants left the meeting excited to be involved.
More Timely Approach Needed to Solicit Feedback Along the Way
Although the team meeting approach worked beautifully at kickoff, Jen knew it wouldn’t work to get input along as the project progressed. Finding a date when all key participants were available for the launch meeting had pushed that meeting weeks forward. She knew that there was no way she could schedule meetings at critical points and get full (or even significant) participation.
One-to-One Drop-Ins Sped Process, Unearthed Key Insights, & Strengthened Relationships
Despite the impossibility of scheduling review meetings that everyone could attend, Jen knew she had to find a way to get that multi-perspective input from colleagues on the branding team. And she figured out a way—one-to-one drop-in meetings.
Jen scheduled a few drop-in periods when she’d be available to discuss each brand decision point. Brand team members were invited to stop by or weigh in via email, and given a final deadline for input. This approach worked beautifully to give everyone the opportunity to share their input without delaying the brand development process.
Even better, Jen found these one-to-one conversations to be more productive than large group meetings: Brand team members could focus on what each one felt was most important, so felt heard and valued. Jen could probe more deeply as needed, or address an individual’s concern, in a way that would have been impossible in a group meeting. And, of course, the brand benefited from these richer conversations. Win-win-win.
Try drop-ins!! They worked for Advocates, and they’re likely to work for some of your review challenges. Let me know, either way, please.