Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Influencing is a Critical Brand Management Skill

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States of America

Brand management is an enterprise-wide endeavor. But most brand managers do not have enterprise-wide authority, even if they are highly placed in the organization. This is why influencing skills are critical to the success of that role. I always took Harry S. Truman's quote seriously. I figured out who I needed to influence and what I needed them to know, believe or conceive and then carefully "seeded the field" with those ideas. I would casually mention these things in the hallway, over lunch, at a dinner party or at a ball game. I was most successful if each person thought the idea was his or her own, not mine. Then I would watch what I wanted to occur unfold naturally throughout the organization with all of the right people championing the things that needed to happen on behalf of the brand.

You can be so brilliant at subtly influencing others that people may begin to think that they don't need you because the right things seem to be falling in place and getting done without your driving force. However, as long as you let your boss know what you are up to, completely support these brand-positive efforts and compliment your peers on "their" brilliant ideas, things will go smoothly for you. Plus, if you are influencing people on the right things, you should achieve or exceed your objectives. 

People don't like to be told what to do, especially by someone outside their chain of command or at a lower level in the organization. This is why it is critical to get them to believe that what you want them to do was their own idea. 

I was a master at this and it helped me immensely in my stint as Hallmark's chief brand advocate. You too may find that influencing others is a skill that helps you in your role as a brand manager.

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