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After almost three years of employees' working remotely, you might be noticing something amiss in your company's brand and marketing operations. Perhaps your most talented employees are consistently making mistakes. Maybe your time to market is getting longer and you're not sure why.
Or it could be that team members who collaborated beautifully in the past when they worked in the office now seem to function in siloes—or, worse, engage in uncharacteristic finger-pointing when things go wrong.
At the same time, you're likely making decisions about what the future of work will look like for your team. You might be exploring a variety of in-person, hybrid, and remote working arrangements to attract and retain talent.
All that should lead you to ask: Can your brand and marketing operations withstand—let alone support—more change? And how will you address symptoms of operational breakdown while simultaneously equipping your team to drive your brand forward?
We recommend taking a critical look at these four pillars of brand and marketing operations—people, processes, tools, and technology—to identify gaps, mitigate weaknesses, and prepare for the opportunities that lie ahead.
1. Ask your brand and marketing team about their pain points
You can't shore up your brand and marketing operations without understanding exactly what the problems are. And although the symptoms you're noticing may provide clues about where breakdowns occur, the best way to understand what you're dealing with is to talk directly to your people.
Start by delving into the pain points your employees are experiencing in these three key areas.
Communication and collaboration with peers
A lack of in-person collaboration can quickly result in employees' feeling disconnected and isolated, leading to decreased productivity and efficiency.
To identify operational ways to foster greater communication and collaboration, ask your team members what challenges they've experienced moving to remote work, what the current state of their relationships with teammates is, and whether their interactions have changed since moving to a remote environment.
If you discover that your employees crave more opportunities for connection, talk to them about ways you can address that need.
You can also create training opportunities for key leaders to teach them how to foster collaborative relationships.
Roles and responsibilities
It's common for confusion to arise around roles and responsibilities when employees work remotely, or when some work in-person and others work at home. If your team is confused about who's doing what, it's time to get everyone on the same page.
Create new documentation or update position descriptions as needed. And follow up with clear communication that invites employees to ask questions.
Feeling valued and engaged by the company
Employees who feel valued at work report higher levels of engagement and connection, and they are typically more effective ambassadors for your brand. They'll walk the walk in simple and profound ways—whether that's selecting the right logo for their current project or going the extra mile to serve your stakeholders more effectively.
You, too, can go the extra mile in making employees feel valued by recognizing their efforts in person. Online shout-outs are great, but nothing beats the warmth of an in-person celebration. So, even if your organization is fully remote, look for ways to recognize accomplishments when you're all together for happy hour or a team-building event.
2. Evaluate your brand and marketing processes
Good processes are easily repeatable and clearly documented. But don't expect your employees to simply repeat the same processes forever.
It may be time to rethink, reimagine, and reconstruct your processes to support a new way of working, especially if your company is shifting to a permanent hybrid or remote structure. The processes that served your in-person team effectively may constrict them in a remote setting.
Again, adjusting your processes should start by talking to your people. After all, they're the ones responsible for adhering to them daily.
Some questions to explore:
- Which processes are working well? Are there any we should rethink or eliminate?
- What process shortcuts do you take when you're pressed for time or up against a deadline? What process points would you never skip?
- Do your workflows work for you? Are there any steps that feel unnecessary, redundant, or onerous?
It can be helpful to engage a consultant to gain an outside perspective about which processes work well and which ones should be reimagined. Plus, employees may be more candid with their feedback if they're sharing it with a neutral party.
3 & 4. Invest in tools and technologies that foster collaboration
The final pillars to evaluate as you strengthen your brand and marketing operations are your tools and technology. You may have rolled new platforms early in the pandemic to respond to rapidly changing needs. But are those same systems ideal for the long run?
Now's the time to determine which elements of your martech stack are supporting your overall marketing objectives and which may be holding your team back.
For example, perhaps you've relied on Zoom meetings to replace in-person ideation sessions. But if your team misses using sticky notes and bulletin boards while brainstorming, investing in visually based collaboration tools might provide a similar experience.
Or maybe you've made do with a dated project management system for too long. If your employees hate it and have nothing but complaints about its poor usability, it's time to get rid of it!
By taking time to introduce the best digital solutions now, you can reduce or eliminate your team members' frustrations. And even better: you can clear their path so they can do their best work.
Bolster your brand and marketing operations for the long-term wellbeing of your organization
Whether your brand and marketing operations are experiencing symptoms that indicate they need attention or you simply want to strengthen your processes to support your team in this hybrid world, it's wise to devote time and attention to this important area.
Listen to your people to understand the joys and challenges they've experienced over the past few years. Look for ways to deepen connections and improve relationships, whether you're in-person or remote. And invest in the processes, tools, and technology that will support your team now and in the future.
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Need help assessing your brand and marketing operations to make wise improvements? We'd love to walk alongside you and guide you through the process. Just reach out.
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