Beyond the Journey of Branding
Updated: May 19
The journey of any branding exercise will lead you towards a clear understanding of the personality, values & purpose, tone, messaging and the way your brand needs to communicate with every stakeholder. A lot of effort goes into a branding exercise to understand and conclude in the way your brand needs to be seen, heard, and felt beyond its physical characteristics. (sometimes even it gets to the understanding of how a brand wants to smell/taste/touch).
How many of you and your colleagues are exactly living up to values on a daily basis to actually give a real time experience to all your stakeholders. The founders/leaders of the organization tend to focus less on people and culture. Either they take the teams for granted or they are too sucked into the vicious cycles of the business other than people and culture! It’s very important for the founders and the leadership to be aware of how they are aligning their people to the business operations of the organization.
The importance of people and culture
Firstly, realizing the importance of people and culture in a business is a necessity to start aligning people, culture and operations. Because, when you do not realize the importance of it, you tend to spend less time on challenges that are popping up. It might not be intentional for any leader/founder to ignore these challenges, however, these are to be addressed on priority. Because, people are the core participants in a Team. And teams tend to expand when business expands and these teams together is what is called your organization. According to me, entrepreneurship/leadership is about people and relationships. Both are intertwined because people are the one who establish relationships with others and make commerce happen. Once people and relationships are aligned across the value chain, the commerce that happens will take you to glory! In an ideal case, every leader should focus on growing and nurturing his/her teams to be smarter, knowledgeable, have the right attitude and be better in the way they function everyday. It’s the quality of the decisions that these teams take will help the organization to sail despite any storm. In short , leaders don’t build products/services. They build teams by getting people together and enable them to move ahead. So how do you as a leader/manager do this job right.
These can be the focus areas for anyone that's looking to build a team:
Aligning individual goals & aspirations to that of Organization's
It’s very important for a leader to align an individual's aspiration to that of the organization's aspirations. According to me, a lot of people are desperate for jobs and they tend to answer the questions in a way to convince you. But reading between the lines and understanding their true personal aspirations can be a very important factor in hiring anyone, especially when you are hiring the top 50-75 people of your team. These things are better understood through enabling a comfortable dialogue with any potential individual. That’s the skill that leaders have to hone. Because, if there is a misalignment at this level, then there is a high chance that the individual might leave the role soon. Through this alignment, you can also keep your teammates motivated well.
Understanding the cultures in which an individual thrive
According to me, we are what we are and where we come from. It’s important for a leader to understand what type of culture one comes from and what type of culture that an individual aspires to be a part of. It’s very common to hear from anyone about how they want to be a part of a positive culture that nurtures growth and collaboration. But what I see is a gap in between what an individual aspires to be and how that individual conducts himself/herself at a workplace. It’s very important to be observant of all these aspects so that we draw our inferences as an enabler. It’s very tough to have the right people who fit in the company’s culture at one go. There is always a gap between the kind of the culture the individual aspires to be Vs the kind of the culture that they come from. It’s important for enablers/leaders to identify this gap very early on and nurture individuals towards being the flag bearers of the company’s culture.
Sensitize the team with the role description and the deliverables
Young companies with young team members always have this issue when it comes to role understanding and the deliverables that come with each role. The deliverables for each role are generally aligned to the outcomes the company is aspiring to have. But often there is a missing link between these two. It's very important that we sensitize the team about the company’s immediate business goals and align their efforts towards contributing to those Business Goals. It sounds simple, but implementation of this will definitely haunt every leader that I worked with, especially the first time entrepreneurs. Revisiting the roles and responsibilities periodically will really help because every business is dynamic in nature and it requires alignment every MoM or WoW depending on the nature of your business
WHEN YOU EXPECT, YOU INSPECT. This is something that works well when you implement it judiciously. If you are expecting something from your teammate/colleague, it's very important to give the right inputs to them, understand if the inputs are sufficient for them to process the subject at hand, and then expect an output that’s desirable. Often, I see leaders aligning their personal interests to that of the expectations from any team mate. But that’s an effing blunder that happens everywhere. You should align every input, effort and output to the Business Goals and Outcomes AND NEVER to what your personal interests/opinions. This is a very thin line for any Human Being to cross but leaders are supposed to be mindful of this. Lastly, monitoring is not about policing your teammates. It's about being there for your teammates as a support and as a person that they look up to for everything they need. Afterall, leaders are to teammates just like fathers are to kids in a family. You give them all the freedom to be themselves and grow to be the best version of themselves but never cease to monitor them and render the support the teams require.
So how are you conducting employer branding, through engaging your people. Get in touch, if you need help to further your employer brand, to attract and retain the right talent.