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No-one said it would be easy. Navigating complex stakeholder relationships to create brand truth.

Sometimes, even the leanest of organisations can have complex stakeholder landscapes and relationships. Senior executives, management teams, external service or product users, investors etc.In almost diametric opposition to this complex landscape, the most successful brands are created from a clear sense of purpose – a unifying truth.

How can you assess the requirements, understand the opinions and galvanise the values of these disparate groups, without ending up hamstrung by a ‘branding-by-committee’ situation?

The task of brand consultants such as True North is to facilitate the process by which the needs and attitudes of internal and external audiences are explored to arrive at a proposition and market positioning for the brand that successfully articulates its unique purpose and point of difference to best advantage.

However, especially at the early stages of examining this for the first time together (or first time in a long time), clearly views on this unifying truth can be very different for each stakeholder.

But, to create a differentiating brand idea that clearly sets the organisation apart and provides all stakeholders, internal and external, with an extremely easy to understand proposition, there is no alternative other that to actively examine and wrestle with any such differences of opinion or feeling.

The major benefit of such ‘wrestling’, or collaboratively creating these propositions is that management teams continue to own them and help apply and deliver them after our involvement has ended, so that the brand idea drives future activity.

And the real skill comes from engaging stakeholders and actively managing a collaborative process that respectfully incorporates their minds and hearts, BUT that extracts and confirms a clear, differentiated and unique brand truth. Rather than a camel.

So, whilst the aim is to be inclusive and comprehensive in engagement, the objective will always be to create simplicity, distinctiveness and differentiation; not just consensus.

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