Monday, 1 August 2011

Missing the Point

Recently, a customer of ours underwent a brand refresh. Like most cases of this phenomenon, it was quite hard to see what had actually changed. It was pointed out to me (the logo had changed slightly, and there was now a system of graphics to use for multimedia – ooooh.).  It seemed to me like an obsession with detail while the communications world was in a massive state of flux. Like hoovering under the bed while the fire alarm is going off, or lining up the pens on your desk during an earthquake. But possibly more expensive.

Sometimes things happen because it’s expected. It’s expected that a new communications director should change the brand image.  Or sweep through and initiate steps towards his or her great new vision.  But it’s important to communicate the rationale, or people will wonder.

It was not brave, or necessary, or effective. It smacked of “jobs for the boys” and in my humble opinion, took the focus away from more urgent communications needs. Like training managers in the use of social media. Or intimate writing techniques. Hell – even writing a good SM policy would be a step forward.

I don’t want to be too harsh, because I know how hard it is to decide what to do next when bosses, agencies and the press are baying for a decision. But - I think that the first thing that needs to be done is establish some objectives.  This lady knows her onions when it comes to getting things done and sorting out the distractions from the crunchy stuff. 

Clarifying objectives, as a process, is cathartic. It cuts through. It makes decisions easier. It demystifies and makes things far less emotional.  Once done, you can get passionate about the right things.

According to Simon Sinek, Author of "Start With Why", people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.  Start by asking the right questions.


  1. Last night I saw Undercover Boss. The boss this time was Kevin McCullough, the chief operating officer (COO) of npower. Amongst other things that came forwarded, one thing was the lack of communication to the people of the company from the higher management. It was a pretty interesting watch.

  2. Thanks Bhavuk!
    I find that middle management people sit (comfily) behind things like brand relaunches to avoid actual communication with employees that might have an opinion, or challenge the status quo in some way.

    Wouldn't that be a crisis (sarc)...?!?

    That is my crusade. To make management connect with their people, to share their vision. I'm passionate about it and I'm not alone, so management better nut up and grow some visionary cahones.