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How to make the right moves for inclusive brand success

How often have you sat in a conference room with a seemingly impossible obstacle hanging in the air?

Someone has a solution they’re excited about.

Someone else doesn’t think it will work.

Three people sit in silence — arms folded, heads down.

One person suggests more fact-finding before making a decision.

No one is having a good time.

By the time people head back to their offices or off to lunch, progress hasn’t been made, and frustration is growing.

If this scenario feels too real, we get it. We’ve sat in those same conference rooms too. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Buy-in doesn’t happen overnight or in one meeting. Instead, it’s created intentionally — by taking concrete steps toward an inclusive outcome. This overview can help you get started.

  1. Understand the problem: When more than one person is involved, there’s a tendency for people to think they understand the problem when they only really understand how the problem impacts them or their department.

    Here’s a tip: The next time you’re in the conference room, give everyone a piece of paper, and ask them to define the problem in their own words. Then, rewrite each of those definitions on a whiteboard for everyone to see and discuss. Those definitions will inform one another, and each team member will gain a deeper understanding of what the obstacles truly are.

  2. Create a game plan for implementing solutions: People love a plan, and clear plans with two or three steps are sticky. When you can tell your team, “We agree on the problem, now let’s figure out how best to solve it,” people will feel invested. Defining the problem is step one. But getting people to help build the solution is what unifies them.

    Remember, clarity is kindness. Brene Brown taught us that. If your team members or stakeholders are unclear on what the solution is or how it’s going to be implemented, you will not have the trust needed to foster buy-in.

  3. Generate excitement — even with people “on the fence: Within the life of your organization, nothing is more invigorating than achieving your intended outcome — especially when you’ve spent time and energy sorting out the problem and creating a way to solve it. Having a plan for communicating those successful results is critical to bring in anyone who was still “on the fence”.

    As critical as it is to own the challenges and obstacles in your business, it’s equally important to celebrate the successes. Doing both honestly and accurately creates the kind of culture people are eager to invest their time and energy into.

Final thought: This can be daunting work for any company to tackle alone. Having a partner who can help you navigate uncomfortable conversations, develop a winning strategy and achieve the success you’ve been looking for is critical.

For the last 15 years, we’ve been helping companies just like yours build stronger brands from the inside out. If you’re ready to find out what we can do for you, there’s no better time than right now.

Neka Creative is a full-service brand development agency in Minneapolis, anchored on the promise of inclusion.

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