As a consultancy we believe that change is a collaborative process. So, we try to practice what we preach at every point of the projects we undertake. Here’s a little glimpse into what we mean by that…
Rather than coming to us with a problem, clients often arrive with a solution to the marketing or communications problem they think they have – such as wanting a new logo or website. There is normally alignment to the business objectives, increasing sales, being an attractive employer, a need to appeal to a different market or a new product/service being offered, all of which are good enough grounds for change.
Doing it together
However, to get to the heart of who our clients really are and to make real change, we believe it is a collaborative process. We must work together to find out why they really do what they do, and what they are trying to achieve. These are important for longevity.
Most agencies, through research and analysis, will present a well-informed perspective on their client and the problem presented to them. But we want to understand what lies behind those reasons, go deeper, really determine what the purpose is and the long-term objectives are.
We know here is a greater chance of success if there is a compelling position, with a distinguished offer and value proposition for the client to take to market. We also know that without having key people on side, achieving that change is going to be difficult, so we take the time to get to know them, maybe even outside of the office – an informal chat over lunch or a beer will sometimes reveal the ‘real story’!
Getting around a table
Through workshops and working sessions, we act as facilitators, asking the hard questions, questioning why things are the way they are.
Initial workshops are key to building common ground for the core project team – sometimes the owners or board, sometimes marketing and HR, and sometimes a mixture. What is necessary is for those people to come with an equal voice, no hierarchies, and an understanding that what they are there for is vital to the brand’s success.
Be it a workshop or working session, it is always interactive. We have developed tools that form the basis of these sessions and can be tailored to each project. These tools give us, and the client, the blocks to build a foundation on which tell better and more compelling stories, be it visually or through language.
Don’t think that we at GW+Co leave all the hard work for these sessions alone… In between them, we are drawing on our experience and shaping the outcomes to be the best they can be. Collaboration is still paramount and there is always an open two-way dialogue.
Later workshops may be attended by a greater cross-section of colleagues. It’s important that there are advocates involved at every level – you need to understand how your people feel and they need to understand why the decisions that could effect them are happening and feel they make a contribution.
Those on the journey from the beginning are more likely to become advocates. Not everyone will be an advocate, but those who are more engaged and willing to carry the overall message to their colleagues. Internal brand engagement and buy-in in the later part of the process, means a unified workforce pulling in the same direction, all telling the same compelling story.
For us, we like to see good numbers in Google Analytics, or an increase in sales, but we don’t feel these are the only measures of success – to see and hear the same compelling story from colleagues at different levels is a huge measure in how far the company has come.
Awa Jaram is an Account Director at GW+Co