Claiming Your (Stake)holder Interviews

April 2020

Stakeholders have long been considered a method of building empathy internally within a company. Defined by 18F Cards, stakeholder interviews include a variety of semi-structured interviews with anyone who has an interest in a project’s success. Within our process at Executive Branding Solutions, this is the recommended first step in the Discover phase. In order to build a consensus in finding what the problem areas are, stakeholder interviews take a deeper look into the internal perception of a company. Typically conducted anonymously, findings are then shared to an internal committee to define a problem statement. By formulating this statement, industry research and competitor analysis follow to identify a company's value proposition, mission and vision during the Identity phase.

Based on this information, we then dive into a rebrand strategy to develop redefined positioning and messaging through a branding style guide, content, visuals, website, and social media digital presence. You may be asking yourself why go through stakeholder interviews if you feel like you have a good grasp on the direction of your company. In our experience, stakeholders interviews have always surprised executives with key insights on perception, both internally and public from clients, process improvements, culture caveats, and most importantly help determine the state of a company's brand. Without these findings, you may be taking on a rebrand in the wrong direction.

Ready to start your company's rebrand? Here are our top 10 questions that you should be asking your stakeholders first.

  1. How would you describe the company in your elevator pitch? Although you may have unified content on our website, social and marketing collateral, it may not be resonating with your internal team. See what your stakeholders are saying out your company. Interested parties should be on the same page speaking the same lingo.
  2. What are the driving brand pillars for this company? Brand values are usually embodied as a bulleted list for brevity and conciseness to describe the company's pillars. Consider what the most important things are for the company. Is it focused on customer service and personalized service or is the company focused on quality and price for its product or service offerings.
  3. What are the goals for this company? Goals can include having a socioeconomic or technological impact on the industry. Perhaps your company has a goal in five years of addressing a huge market gap through its product or process improvements.
  4. How do you believe this company is perceived by the public? Consider what others think of your company when they hear your company's name or see your company's logo. Are they thinking back to that financial scandal that happened years ago? Or does your people-focused company culture resonate in the eyes of potential new hires? 
  5. Who do you believe is the company's target audience(s)? You may be surprised with variable answers to this question. Customer or client segmentation is crucial in determining how the rebrand will strategically position the company. If your target audience is not defined, you may not reach the brand awareness that you had hoped for through the rebrand process.
  6. How do you see this company addressing today's trends? It's extremely important to stay current in your industry to understand your competitors and trends in the market. Is your company keeping up? If not, how can the company improve its offerings/products/etc... in order to elevate its brand status? 
  7. Where do you see the missed opportunities? It's always hard to admit that your company isn't doing everything it can to generate new business. Instead of looking to your creative team on how to drive marketing and sales, your stakeholders may have considerations for new opportunities that you're missing.
  8. Where do you see the direction going in the company's branding? This touches on several factors including the tagline and communications to logo and photography. You may come across new ideas for the upcoming rebrand. Or, you may even find that your considerations for a rebrand are not the majority point of view among your stakeholders.
  9. What concerns do you have about the company rebranding? This touches on a humanistic note to ask about any vulnerabilities or obstacles that a stakeholder may foresee. Some may feel that the company is "good as is." Others may feel compelled to rebrand the company but are afraid of the end result. Ask about their concerns before the process begins.
  10. What are some of the most successful/unsuccessful initiatives of the company? This can include a spectrum of responses from marketing initiatives and digital advertising to employee engagement workshops and professional development retreats. Ask for insights on what has been done and whether it has worked (or not worked) and why.

If your company is considering a rebrand, stakeholder interviews will empower your decision-making process to correctly pivot your company's direction. Instead of saying "Oops!" or "I didn't know you felt that way," asking the right questions will drive your rebrand using first-person accounts. Successful rebrands use internal insights to help establish a company's updated brand.

Is your company considering a rebrand but doesn't know where to start? Send an email.

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