How stakeholder listening can help you gain valuable insights into your brand

Earlier this year, I was honoured to be asked to support a brand refresh project for Breast Cancer UK, a charity focused on reducing the number of preventable breast cancer cases (currently thought to be 30% of the 56,000 cases diagnosed each year). 

To this end, I interviewed both internal and external stakeholders, discovering how the current brand and messaging is being perceived, and how well it’s doing helping the organisation differentiate itself from other breast cancer charities. The findings fed into the creative process and the result is a striking new visual identity and a clear and powerful tone of voice (for more on that, follow this link).

If you’re looking to rebrand or refresh your brand, and you already engage in client listening, including some high-level questions that can help inform the creative direction of your rebranding project is a great way to maximise the return on your client listening investment. You’ll gain useful insights, your clients will feel involved and you’ll also, in making these additional questions part of your regular client listening sessions, be demonstrating how much you value their time. 

And it doesn’t end with a rebrand. Once you’ve rebranded, it’s always worth asking your clients’ opinion on your new branding. How is it landing with them? How do they feel it sets you apart from others in a crowded market? Remember, your brand is more than your logo and visual identity, it’s also your tone of voice and messaging. Your brand should convey what you do, why you do it and who you do it for. Hopefully your new branding will answer those questions, especially after all the time and money you’ve spent on it! 

Jeff Bezos said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” If your brand is already well established, it’s important to not only find out what people say about you, but also what they’re not saying. Your aim might be to be approachable, easy to work with, offering added value and commercially-focused but if your clients aren’t using those words when talking about you, something’s gone awry. 

Proactively listening to your clients and your teams can help you to find out the extent to which you’re living up to those brand promises you make when you start working with a client, or when someone new joins your team. With such fierce competition for client loyalty, new business and top talent, checking in on how well you’re doing against the commitments you made at the start of your relationship is a worthwhile exercise. Rather like a marriage, business relationships are often rosy to begin with but take work to maintain and unarticulated resentment can creep in if promises aren’t kept. This can lead to less than satisfied clients and teams which, in turn, can lead to significant brand and reputation damage so it’s better to surface and deal with issues early on than lose a relationship altogether.

Your brand and the work around it takes a lot of time and resource, not just when you’re in the exciting (and stressful) phase of actively rebranding or refreshing your brand, but when you’re doing the essential work of building and maintaining your brand positioning. If you’re not sure how your clients and wider stakeholders view your brand, you can’t really know what they think of your business and it could be time for us to have a no-obligation chat about how client listening could help you. Do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

Next month I’ll be launching some changes to my own brand – I’m looking forward to sharing those with you in the next edition of ‘The Happy Client’.

See you then!

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