One misstep that many businesses make during their rebranding efforts is waiting until the official unveiling of their brand to loop their employees in. While this is often done as a way to ensure that employees only see the final product, it actually puts the organization at a disadvantage once the brand is rolled out to the public.
If you’re preparing to rebrand, I implore you to use this opportunity to solicit honest feedback from your employees. Not only will you be able to better shape your new brand messaging around attributes your employees already possess, but you’ll learn a thing or two that you can use to better improve your entire business.
Let’s take a look at why employees play a crucial role in your rebrand and a few of our favorite workshop ideas you can use to gather their feedback.
Why employee feedback plays a major role in developing your new brand
If you’re wondering why you should get your employees involved during your rebrand process, consider this:
- Your new brand should embody the people at your company; gathering their honest opinions during the rebranding process will help ensure this is the case.
- Collecting employee feedback may allow you to uncover marketable strengths or weaknesses that might not be discovered through client interviews or focus groups.
- This feedback will not only be directly useful for developing branding and marketing, but also for allowing other internal groups – like human resources – to better address the needs of employees and better communicate to job candidates (HR and recruiting are greatly impacted by your brand, so don’t disregard them as you’re developing it!).
By getting employee buy-in, you're also increasing the likelihood of strong employee engagement, as they feel their opinion matters and their voice is being heard. In a white paper by the Performance Improvement Council, the author, Louise Anderson, puts it this way:
"...engaged employees are more productive, create better customer experiences, and are more likely to remain with their employers. As a result, employers win because they get a more stable and motivated workforce and can, consequently, spend more time strengthening their brand."
You’ll be setting yourself up for success if your employees feel the new brand is one they can get behind.
Employee feedback workshop ideas to help you gather honest, useful feedback
How do you solicit quality employee feedback that can be used as you build your new brand?
We love using workshop activities to encourage employees to share their perspectives in fun, engaging ways. Workshops provide an active atmosphere for participants, which we find helps better bring out new and creative ideas than simply sending out a survey asking for opinions.
There are a number of ways to go about it, but here are a few of our favorite workshop activities that you can use to explore how your employees feel about and perceive your organization.
1. Host a competition to see how different teams of employees would pitch the company to different stakeholders, a la Shark Tank. These stakeholders could include friends who don’t know anything about the company or industry, prospective clients or candidates. This activity allows you to see the type of language your employees use to describe the company and what areas of the business they deem most valuable for others to know about.
We recommend going all out on this to make it more exciting for participants: gather a panel of judges, encourage some friendly competition (offering a prize for the winning pitch team can be a great motivator!) and record each of the pitches. You can edit the pitches into a short video that can be shared with employees to highlight everyone’s great ideas and announce a winner for best pitch.
2. Host an art gallery full of work created by your employees. We know that competition – not to mention public speaking – gives some people nightmares. That’s why we love hosting an artist’s workshop, where staff members are encouraged to develop art that represents their company.
The idea here is to let your employees express themselves in a relaxed environment so that they feel comfortable voicing their opinions without 50 sets of eyes and the pressure of “winning it all” on their backs.
All you need to do is grab some art supplies, like poster board and colored pencils, find a large space conducive to creating art and determine the theme of the day (such as: “if your company was a flower in nature, what would it look like?”). From there, your employees can spend an hour leisurely drawing their interpretations.
Once the art has been created, it should be displayed in a public space in your office. Invite employees, their family and friends for a real gallery opening (complete with wine and cheese!). Be sure to have employees create a short write up discussing their art that can be displayed next to each piece.
We love allowing employees to express themselves through art, as it allows them to get across their perspectives that aren’t always easily conveyed in a simple question-and-answer session.
3. Create a country. If your company was a country, what would it look like?
This question is the set up for the “create-a-country” workshop. In this exercise, your employees will be tasked with developing a new country based on your organization.
Some of the tasks that each group must complete as they build their country include:
- Design a flag
- Choose a national emblem
- Describe the country’s indigenous people (What are their common personality traits? What do they care about? What sets them apart from other cultures?)
- Founding principles (1-2 core philosophies that serve as the backbone of the nation)
- Share the country’s biggest exports and imports
- What is the country known for?
Creating a country is a fun way to extrapolate on the microcosm that is an individual’s workplace. It won’t be hard for them to pull out the ideas and characteristic of your company and imagine them being used in a country. Doing so will help you learn how employees view their workplace and daily life within it.
4. Bring in an artifact that represents the brand. This exercise is very open-ended by design. By asking employees to bring in any item that somehow represents the brand or an aspect of the company's culture and explaining the relevance in their own words, you'll be sure to see some creativity and some new perspectives on how your team thinks about your organization and what makes it special.
As you work through the rebranding process, never forget about your employees: by soliciting their opinions through engaging workshop activities, you’ll be better positioning your new brand for success.