It’s an old classification. Decision-makers, influencers, followers. In every company, those involved in a brand process can be assigned to one of these groups. They must all be reached – in the appropriate form – and integrated into the brand process. In our blog article `Workshops´, we have described the starting point on which every redesign of brand communication should be based. As already mentioned there, the aim of planning a workshop is to identify the participants who can give distinction to, sustain and advance the brand process. But usually the number of participants in a workshop is too limited to involve all decision-makers and influencers.
Interviews are the next step in expanding the group of participants in order to involve more employees in the brand process. The aim is not to repeat the content of the workshop in the form of individual interviews, but to pass on the lessons learnt there to the company and at the same time to deepen or correct the insights gathered. The meaning behind this is based on a differentiated understanding of the target groups.
Every brand process wants to be communicated last, or it would not have to be communicated at all. While products are manufactured, brands are created in the minds of their followers. But followers are not only customers or potential customers. They can also simply be interested parties. I do not necessarily have to drive a Ferrari or Maserati (because I may never have enough money for it or because I simply cannot fit my family of six into the two-seater) but yet can think these or other brands are amazing. But just as brands can have very different target groups outside the company, so too can they have very different target groups within the company.
The above classification into decision-makers, influencers and followers is a very catchy one. But it is just as important now to win over these internal target groups as it is to win over the external target groups later. The implementation is as individual as the specific question (marketing-driven or sales-driven), the structure of the company (family business, small, medium or large company, internationally positioned or not).
It is sometimes advisable to interview all of the decision-makers (for example from subsidiaries or individual departments) who were unable to attend the workshop (for example, because they work abroad). The interview can then take place either in person, via Skype or sometimes in writing. It may also be necessary to not only interview influencers who support the process, but in particular those who could undermine it. And of course, interviews can also be conducted with unwavering followers as an employer branding measure, for example to capture the mood shots of the employees confronted with their own brand.
Nevertheless, an interview is not the first choice here when attempting to reach a fairly widespread audience, but a direct survey. Such interviews conducted after brand workshops, which bring the initial results into the company, deepen the insights gathered and at the same time allow for adjustments. These are to be understood as communication activities during the brand process.
The message that is spread throughout the company is clear: Your opinion is important to us, you contribute to the image of our brand and your task is to strengthen the brand. Interviews thus become pulse monitors in the company. and give impetus to the brand process.
For more information, please contact:
Creative Consulting / Group Head Text
christoph.siwek (at) schindlerparent.de