Conflict and confusion are common symptoms when markets and competitive spaces consolidate or merge. Having supported many companies through multiple brand evolutions, we’ve learned communication — and often lack thereof — plays a critical part in both the cause and the cure.
Communication challenges in a brand transition often fall into one of three categories:
- Are you fighting because you don’t know if there is a strategic decision driving the change?
People need to know why the change happened. Leaving it up to interpretation or rumor is a seed for conflict and resentment.
- Are you fighting because you disagree on strategy?
When people disagree about a decision to change, it’s important to understand the root of their disagreement and address it as best as possible in the new approach. Ignoring them increases the struggle, and perhaps also the risk of failure due to confusion or even sabotage. If the strategy is sound, everyone should know how the decision was made and how other perspectives were reviewed and considered in that process.
- Are you fighting because you’re not sure what the change means for you or your job?
Most often, conflict emerges because people don’t have enough specifics about how the change will impact their day-to-day work. They may have a general understanding of why it happened, but not enough to know what they should and shouldn’t do going forward. And if it’s not clearly communicated, many people revert to old habits, systems, and messages, all of which can dilute the power of the new direction.
Make it easy to set yourself up for success, avoid paralyzing conflicts, and support everyone involved in a brand transition.