Arch Communications, a supplier on our Consultancy Services framework (664), talk about the importance of brand in order to tell a consistent story.
Telling a consistent story
Operating in the public sector is a complex business. Budgets may be stretched yet people’s expectations remain high, and organisations have to manage diverse stakeholder groups with a whole host of different agendas.
It’s all too easy to focus on such daily pressures and lose sight of the bigger picture. Every organisation needs to hold onto a compelling explanation of who they are, what they’re trying to achieve, and why people should care. It should underpin everything, ensuring a clear and consistent picture. This is your core narrative.
Building a narrative
Many fall into the trap of thinking about brand purely in visual terms – logo, signage, website etc, but these are merely supporting tools. Before that comes the crucial process of developing the story behind it.
Working out a story is therefore not just about agreeing the words, but an entire approach. A narrative is strategy in action. It should be both aspirational and honest, and simple enough so that it can be distilled into a small number of key one-line messages – the things you want to stick in people’s minds.
When your narrative is clear, it should be used with great discipline across your organisation. The entire workforce needs to understand the story and stick to it, otherwise the public will hear mixed messages. Embedding it as part of a staff induction process is good practice.
Protecting your narrative
However, a note of caution: it takes time and effort to create a successful brand, but it can be seriously harmed in moments.
Many organisations get into difficulties because of the gap between what they’re communicating and the perceptions of others. If you claim excellence but the public think otherwise, they’ll be less likely to believe anything else you have to say. Worse still, they will pass on their reservations and criticisms – all too easy on social media.
Here is a checklist for assessing the effectiveness of a narrative:
- Is it aligned with the overall strategy?
- Are you seeing things from your customers’ point of view? Does it match what they are saying?
- Is it applied with enough consistency (across websites, social media, PR, publications etc)?
- Do your staff know it and demonstrate it in their behaviours?
- Does it use the right language and make the emotional connection you want?
Your narrative is your brand and the foundation stone of your organisation. It’s a precious thing, so understand it and never take it for granted.
Arch Communications can be found on Lot 9b: Marketing, Communications and PR of our Consultancy Services framework (664). For more information please click here.