Getting internal buy-in from a larger group of stakeholders is one of the most important elements of any branding initiative. Despite countless hours of strategic planning, naming feedback, and research, any number of other people tangential to the project may want a say in the creative options after much of the work has been done. This late input can create challenges and anxiety for project managers and teams who then have to go back to the drawing board, losing valuable time spent on dynamic and strategic positioning, naming, and/or design work in the process. So, how do you avoid this potential predicament? The answer—make sure you get internal buy-in during crucial parts of the project.
Internal Insights Survey (IIS)
Depending on the amount of strategic work needed in your branding initiative, you may want to consider utilizing an internal insights survey. This survey will garner qualitative and quantitative feedback from a large group at your company to ensure you’re utilizing key strategic elements in the brand creation. Metrics for this survey will depend upon your project type (e.g., messaging and positioning, rebranding, naming, design). However, regardless of the project type, you want to determine important commonalities and feeling about the current brand, as well as strategize which brand personality, key traits, etc., are the most important to highlight in the creation of your new brand element.
A solid foundation built during the Strategy Workshop is key to the overall success of a branding initiative. If an IIS was conducted, those results should be shared, along with any other research, audit findings, etc. We advise engaging a slightly larger team (~10-15 people) during this workshop to ensure that all relevant avenues of exploration are taken into consideration. This also creates excitement and initial buy-in from individuals outside of the core project team.
Strategic Rounds of Creative
Once the project is underway, be slightly more strategic about who is involved in the actual creative review stage. There should be several, increasingly strategic rounds of creative review. You want a smaller core team (~3-5 people) to review these ideas to determine an evolving and strategic creative path. If too many people are involved in this stage, it’s all too easy to get derailed with broader, potentially conflicting ideas.
Internal Stakeholders Survey (ISS)
Once creative is complete and strategically narrowed down, it’s important to again involve a larger group of key stakeholders during the validation phase. The best way to do this is to engage the team with the top creative candidates using a 10–15-minute survey that gathers important feedback from the team to further prioritize the names, designs, etc.
Once all the branding work is completed and you’re down to your final few creative concepts, your branding partner should provide you with an executive presentation that concisely summarizes the full process and steps that were taken to generate the final creative concepts. It should also optimize all validation metrics to deliver a clear, final recommendation to present to key stakeholders. Having a well-thought-out executive presentation is key to avoiding the wasted work and timeline delays we mentioned in the beginning of the article.
It’s important to consider carefully who to involve in the creative process—from a larger team to kick-off the project, to a smaller core team to lead the creative development process, to critical moments when you involve key stakeholders and executives. Make sure you’re setting yourself up to create a successful, well-liked, and optimal creative concept at the end of your branding initiative by ensuring internal buy-in throughout the process.