February 18, 2021
3 Tips to Overcome Branding Team Fatigue
“You could never know what it’s like
Your blood like winter freezes just like ice
And there’s a cold lonely light that shines from you
You’ll wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you use.”
I’m Still Standing – Elton John (1983)
Sir Elton John could have never known just how prophetic his words would become. Level with me—while this blog post starts out in bummer town, it gets to an important point.
It’s mid-February. Seasonal Affective Disorder is in full swing for many. Societal pandemic burnout is now a health term that’s widely circulated. For those who have maintained employment, functioning at a level you’re used to seems like a distant memory; And we’ve all been spending a bit too much time on our own proverbial desert islands.
My family, friends, colleagues, and industry giants are all reporting the same thing—fatigue. In some form, at every level. So, why would we expect brands to postulate any differently?
Brands are made up of teams of real human beings who are all also experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime public health crisis. There’s no playbook for this, but the world spins on. Moving forward, one foot in front of the other, is a way to process, proceed, and come out on the other side.
It’s one thing to identify the problem, but it’s another to work toward a solution. How can brands overcome internal fatigue? What are some things brands can do right now to hold on, ride it out, and prepare for a brighter tomorrow?
- Find value in the work you do.
This feels pretty obvious. But we’re all doing more with less right now. If your team is dedicating resources to something that isn’t valuable, stop doing it. The only way to make more room for the good stuff is to get rid of something else. How can you make room for the initiatives, products, and activities that matter? There are 3 things teams can do (yes, virtually) that can jump-start a conversation on where to begin to find additional value.
- Stop, Start, Continue: it’s exactly what it sounds like. What are you, your direct reports, your company, your brand going to STOP doing that’s not currently working? What’s something you’re going to START doing that you aren’t currently? And, what are you going to CONTINUE doing that is working?
- RACI Chart: The acronym stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed. Each letter in the acronym represents a level of task responsibility. Helping to redefine roles within a team can ensure you’re working as independently and efficiently as possible.
- SWOT Analysis: Yes, a SWOT is actually valuable. While basic, it sets a team’s sights toward a realistic framework of where to focus time and attention again. My favorite category is Opportunities. It asks the question—how is my brand uniquely positioned to solve challenges? What unmet need can my brand provide?
- Gain a different perspective.
Many of us aren’t experiencing new places or faces right now. Even the morning commute where we consume daily talk radio or unique podcast content has been eliminated. The daily grind all from inside our homes can make things seem static and uninspired. So—how can brand teams access fresh takes?
Some are things individuals can do—set up your office in a new room. Bundle up and take a walk or drive to a new part of town. Listen to new music or watch a new television show. Try a new recipe. Anything to break up the mundane.
Others are things organizations can do at no cost—find time to learn something new about your company, products, or operations. Schedule a 30-minute call with a senior sales team member to understand their biggest challenges that might shake loose an idea for your marketing team. Find a way to learn more about the intricacies of a product’s manufacturing process. There might be some golden nuggets that can help you think in a different way. Connect with a finance team member to understand their areas of focus for the year and make use of their knowledge of external market factors.
The number one asset for any brand is the people who power it. How can you connect with the hidden gems in your organization to get a new perspective? And better yet, how can you use that perspective to inspire you into action?
- Ask for help
If you’ve exhausted all resources within your organization—there’s never anything wrong with asking for help. Identifying the right group of talented people who can reinvigorate and inspire your internal team isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
To start, define where you need the most support. Do you need data, insights, or resources to make the best decision? Are you struggling to articulate a strategy even with all the data in the world at your fingertips? Have you finally identified the things your team needs to start doing, but not sure where to begin? If you can answer “Yes” to any of these questions, it’s likely time to call in backup. And just because you schedule a call with an agency, that doesn’t mean you’re required to utilize their services.
Set up some time for discovery, develop a list of questions, ask for references, and check out their portfolio, presence on social channels, and thought leadership. An agency that spends time developing valuable content to share with the industry is going to have an edge over other partners who only want to collect a check from clients.
See—the doom and gloom had a purpose! Hopefully, you’ve gathered we’re with you in solidarity. Finding a source of collaboration and connection right now is crucial for brands after a really tough 12-months. Don’t lose hope—you’ve got some friendly professionals who are here to help you find value and offer a new perspective. And if you weren’t singing “I’m Still Standing” before reading this blog post, maybe you are now.