How to streamline the feedback process during your nonprofit’s rebrand
While working with Big Duck on a rebrand for Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, where she works as the Communications Manager, Megan Lenz had to figure out the most efficient and effective way to coordinate and integrate feedback from her colleagues. Having settled into a working system, Megan agreed to share some dos and don’ts for handling internal feedback during a rebrand.
Gathering feedback is one of the hardest but most important steps in a rebrand. When it comes to branding, everyone has an opinion—and those opinions often contradict. And many staff members have never been part of a rebrand and aren’t sure how to approach the process.
So how do you get good feedback? And how do you turn that feedback into something useful? Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way.
Good feedback takes time. Our organization has a “core team” of key staff leaders, assembled specifically for this project. We have a regular weekly meeting, plus occasional extra meetings.
Of course it is challenging to add these meetings to our normal responsibilities. But it’s a short-term investment for long-term gain. A rebrand can be an intense few months, but the benefits last through the lifespan of your organization.
Respect the team’s time by structuring meetings wisely. Rather than crowding the agenda, plan meetings around a single objective. When possible, share materials beforehand so team members can come prepared.
Ask targeted questions. Give examples of helpful feedback. Let the team know what is open for debate, and what is non-negotiable.
Ask follow-up questions to better understand objections. Remember: even experts at their jobs can be novices at rebranding, unsure how best to articulate their comments. The goals and concerns that are behind a comment often reveal common ground, even amidst apparent disagreement.
Occasionally, offer to stock the conference room candy bowl. It helps.
Accept that you will not get everyone to agree on every decision. Those visions of an angel choir and a standing ovation accompanying your new logo? Probably best to let them die right now.
Be willing to make an unpopular decision. Before you start, make sure that the team knows who has decision-making authority when you’re at an impasse. But don’t be arbitrary. “Because I said so” hasn’t been a good answer since kindergarten. Take the time needed to help your team understand why the decision was made, even if they don’t agree.
Consolidate feedback as if it were a writing assignment, not meeting minutes. Look for themes. Group comments by topic. Make connections. Elaborate where unclear. Condense or eliminate rabbit trails.
Most importantly, keep a sense of humor and remember why you’re doing this. Very few nonprofit employees see their work as “just a job.” The ultimate goal is to support a mission that you’re all passionate about. Be grateful for that passion, even when passionate opinions make the rebrand process challenging.