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Balancing Governance and Enablement

July 06, 2012|Erin Provey

The concept of balance is more important today than ever before for those responsible for governing an organization’s brand. For too long, brand governance functions have been viewed as bottlenecks to be avoided instead of resources to be sought after. This has never been a productive approach, but at a time when many organizations struggle to inspire employees to be active on behalf of the brand, it is now downright counterproductive.

Balance is achieved through equality of distribution. It’s a common concept – applied as much to the management of work and family obligations as to the distribution of groceries across two or more grocery bags. When things get out of balance, something has to give, and either your personal life or your fresh fruit ends up in the gutter.

The concept of balance is more important today than ever before for those responsible for governing an organization’s brand. For too long, brand governance functions have been viewed as bottlenecks to be avoided instead of resources to be sought after. This has never been a productive approach, but at a time when many organizations struggle to inspire employees to be active on behalf of the brand, it is now downright counterproductive.

We’re reached a point where b-to-b social media is an acknowledged long-term reality, with few C-level executives still needing to be convinced. The questions now are less “Why?” and more “How?” The problem is that many of the corporate social policies and training curricula I see on a weekly basis are comprised of a laundry list of “Don’ts” with very few “Do’s” – the primary message being “don’t” instead of “do.”

Social media is the perfect opportunity for communications organizations to add some balance to their approach and truly take an enablement-oriented attitude toward their role in bringing the brand to life. I often hear war stories about social missteps made by employees: Overzealous tweets about a great sales call that were picked up by the competition, creating a prospects list on Twitter without realizing that those listed could see that they had been listed, etc. However, 99 percent of the time those errors were made out of ignorance, and they’re all mistakes that could have been avoided through education and training.

Create your social policy understanding that most of your organization’s employees appreciate having a job and would not want to be terminated. Empower them with information, tips, trainings, best practices, content and etiquette; then step back and look at the larger approach to brand socialization. If your approach to brand is primarily a large PDF with assorted logo abuses pictured with lines through them, it’s probably time to rethink the strategy and balance the traditional governance mindset with a healthy dose of enablement.

Erin Provey

Erin Provey is Service Director, Strategic Communications Management, at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 10 years of experience in brand strategy, including positioning, identity, public relations, digital strategy, copywriting and account management. Follow Erin on Twitter @erinprovey.
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