As creatures of habit, we are sometimes naturally ambivalent and resistant to change. In the context of B2B organisations in the past, this resistance was especially noticeable in the activity and scrutiny of the brand as a key contributor to strategy. Brand typically resided firmly within the marketing function’s remit, where it had traditionally sat separately to the strategic direction of the business.
This approach frequently led fragmented results, with an inconsistency in the inherent promise and actual experience of an organisation’s brand strategy. For many C-Suite’s executives, these shortcomings led to greater involvement and investment in how brand was researched, evaluated and measured with increasing adoption of the role of brand in driving organisational growth.
And it appears now, in increasingly complex and turbulent market environments, the role of brand research in evaluating brand, business strategy and culture has never been more important.
One of the most important factors in this equation is ensuring research findings, and the subsequent implications for brand strategy that they illustrate, are shared and disseminated to the wider team and stakeholders beyond the immediate marketing function and C-Suite. Despite its significance, this is often poorly done in B2B organisations. Businesses need to formulate methods to distil these findings beyond extensive research decks to achieve both internal alignment and external engagement to brand strategy.
So, what are some of the most efficient methods to bind research insights and strategy to your internal and external audiences?
Action planning workshops are internally facilitated discussion groups with senior figures and different segments of an organisation’s functions, often moderated by an objective researcher who was involved in the collection and analysis of the supporting implications. They allow an organisation to understand the root cause of key areas of concern that were identified and operate as a tangible demonstration of employee engagement through defining and aligning to collective solutions.
These internal workshops include interactive exercises that provide employees with a voice to identify how a particular challenge is experienced within their specific work experience, with the capacity to voice how they believe they can best address or solve this complication in their immediate capacity. For an organisation, this helps identify the most salient issues internally, to separate the real organisational areas for development against those issues that are typically driven by employee behaviour, misperception or lack of information.
These workshops give truth to the old adage: A problem shared is a problem halved. These sessions provide suggestions for how best to engage and align to strategic changes, whilst also embedding accountability of actions across management and the nominated employees attending the session, allowing a more bottom-up approach to brand strategy.
When executed correctly, webinars have the ability to keep your audience engaged for an extended duration. With the capacity to cost-effectively convey information and insights to a greater number of internal and external stakeholders, webinars deliver tailored, personalised and engaging information that bind individuals to research insights.
Webinars allow B2B organisations to be positioned as true experts in the field, where stakeholders recognise understanding of contemporary economic conditions as they pertain to business strategy. In an increasingly digital context, where face-to-face conferences have restricted the ability to interact with internal and external stakeholders, webinars represent the opportunity to reconnect and engage without having a direct audience.
Successful webinars can be panelled directly by the researcher, who has the ability to moderate conversations with members of an organisation that both internal and external stakeholders have an investment in. The ability to leverage shared audiences (and credibility) is particularly powerful in binding stakeholders to research insights and strategic recommendations.
Infographics have the power to make a broad or more complex strategy more distilled and simplified. Rather than sifting through an extensive amount of qualitative and quantitative insights, a defined and strategic infographic represents an accessible and engaging mechanism to represent an executive summary of complicated strategic insights.
As strictly supporting evidence, infographics operate as sources of easily understood information, with high levels of retention and recall that allows both internal and external stakeholders to bind to research insights.
These tools are particularly powerful when seeking to gain engagement with distracted or disinterested stakeholders. Clear, concise and compelling infographics have the ability to cut through the white noise with the most pertinent and tangible implications as they relate to a specific business function.
They are relatively inexpensive to produce and design if they are kept inhouse and represent an excellent return on investment as they can be disseminated across internal and external channels depending on strategic implications.
A well-articulated research program will help define a sustainable organisational brand strategy for the future, but the real essence of sustainability in research implications hinges on the ability to successfully instil the strategy across internal and external stakeholders. These individuals remain the tangible evidence of your brand promise being kept, and organisations need to do more to bind their strategy to the stakeholders who actually deliver it.
At BrandMatters, we are experts in facilitating the full cycle of brand-led organisational strategy. If your organisation would benefit from a bespoke research program, please feel free to contact us.