How Brand Strategy Can Uplevel Your Company’s EQ

Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) may account for as much as 80% of peoples’ personal success – more than intellectual intelligence (IQ). At Emotive Brand, we believe EQ matters as much as smarts for brands too. So how does EQ apply to brands, and what can B2B CMOs do to uplevel their organizational emotional intelligence?

EQ has five components: self-awareness, self-regulation, internal motivation, empathy, and social skills. All of these apply to businesses as well as people. And all of them can impact basic business strategy, from how to articulate your brand to who to hire and how to implement change.

Let’s look at how brand strategy can boost each component of an organization’s EQ.

Self-awareness

Just as with people, self-awareness for organizations is foundational to everything else. Before you can figure out where your business is heading and how to help it get there, a CMO needs to understand who this company fundamentally is.

This understanding doesn’t come only from inside; external perspective is necessary to identify gaps in the company’s self-perceptions. Brand consultants will often play the role of therapist – using insights and connecting dots to identify blind spots and facilitate self-understanding.

In the Immersion process that kicks off our brand engagements, we talk to a range of internal stakeholders, from company founders to change agents on the ground.

We build on the company’s own sense of itself by talking to clients and external partners, new hires, industry analysts, and by reading commentary and reviews on places like Glassdoor, Gartner, and the business press. This helps identify any blind spots or gaps between the company’s perceptions and aspirations and where the marketplace believes it is.

This work helps us understand a brand’s values, purpose, aspirations, capabilities, and behaviors – both aspirationally and realistically. And it helps us know how to bridge any perceptual gaps with customers, prospects, and partners.

While it may seem like company insiders should be the ultimate authorities on who and what the company is, we find that this inside-out perspective inevitably sheds new light on a business’s strengths and challenges.

Insights from this process both boost organizational EQ and form the foundations of a sharp, successful brand strategy.

Self-regulation

Self-awareness is necessary to inform brand strategy, but self-regulation is required to implement change. Brands need both the discipline and the organizational chops to see a strategy through from beginning to end.

A new brand strategy should be a lens for behaviors and decisions effecting clients, partners, employees, community – anyone your brand might touch. Making that happen starts at the top, but ultimately, everyone plays a role.

Leadership must fully embrace the strategy and talk the talk as well as walking the walk. It’s their job to make sure the strategy is understood and implemented from account service to product development to sales.

To support self-regulation, high-EQ organizations allocate the time, energy and budget their people need to effectively implement change. Otherwise, new ideas won’t gain traction and the status quo will win.

Motivation

Motivation is a component of emotional intelligence that’s critical to any organization’s success, and it’s also something leaders have a reasonable amount of control over. It’s just as easy to de-motivate people as to motivate them. So how does a company create a culture that’s motivated for change?

To be intrinsically motivated, people need to see alignment between their own values and goals and those of their organization. Brand consultants must understand both in order to articulate a strategy that’s compelling to all stakeholders – internal as well as external.

If employees are inspired by the company’s vision, purpose, and plan, they’ll work hard to make it happen. When they experience organizational behavior that accords with their values, they will pour their energy into their work. And if they are ambitious and see a way to grow in parallel with the company, they will be loyal through thick and thin.

If these ideas are clear, compelling, and delivered with respect, motivation is sure to follow.

Empathy

High-EQ businesses embody a sense of caring for all of their stakeholders, from customers to employees to the people in their communities. Empathy inspires the sense of trust that allows brands to build healthy, authentic relationships.

Empathetic organizations naturally tend to attract and hire people who care, but businesses can also foster a culture of empathy. Brand strategy can help by uncovering the met and unmet needs of a brand’s key stakeholders, and telling their stories in a way that others can relate to.

At Emotive Brand, we use a methodology called Emotive Branding to define the key emotions a brand should evoke to strengthen its most important relationships. Empathy is the heart of all of our brand strategy and design. By helping our clients cultivate empathy, they get the tools they need to matter more to people.

Social skills

A company’s social skills include its ability to build loyal, effective teams and to create strong bonds with its clients.

Social skills reflect all of the other components of EQ – self-awareness, self-regulation, internal motivation, and empathy. In fact, creating strong bonds with others is a natural outgrowth of emotional intelligence.

Brand strategy helps a business develop its social skills by unearthing any emotional or functional barriers that stand in the way of stronger relationships and providing communications tools that build bonds.

Building emotional intelligence can help any business. Attaining new levels of self-awareness is a starting point for change. Self-regulation helps your organization implement new ideas and ways of working. Cultivating internal motivation, empathy, and social skills strengthens bonds with the people who matter most to your brand. Schedule a chat with Emotive Brand to learn more about building brand EQ.

Emotive Brand is a brand strategy and design firm in San Francisco.

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