28 August 2012 13 Comments

How feedback saved my brand from disaster

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Brand and listening, Brand and feedback management, Feedback managementFeedback is favourite meal of champions. But many people, brands avoid feedback to their own hurt. As we know, sometimes feedback does not always fan personal ego. Feedback demands a brand should drop its toga of self-importance. But when properly managed, it is the best thing that can ever happen to a brand.

One of the challenges of feedback management is that many brands want to speak, forgetting one learns more from through listening.  No brand will ever go far if a priority is not placed on listening and feedback management. The essence of feedback is to acknowledge you do not know everything. Life, everyday and contact should be a platform or school of learning.

I am presently in a media consultative meeting that brings together the best and brightest in Media communication across the Africa continent. It is a mixture of people from Academic, media industry (Prints and Electronics and), Non- profit Communication and policy advocacy organizations plus social media. It is supposed to be an experience sharing and networking session aimed to produce partnership with a United Nations Development Agency at the Africa Regional level. This group has over seven hundred and twenty years of experience. Some of the professionals were chosen to make presentations and yours truly is  privileged to be sharing on Implications of social media for development. As a professional with sharpen ability in Public speaking I am always careful to monitor audience engagement. Normally I usually have a speaking strategy for different audience profiles. Do not forget preparation cannot be taken for granted.

As a rule, audience feedback is important to me. During my session, I personally felt the strategy developed by me for this occasion did not work well. That actually changed my mood from excited to a bit of disappointment. In order to be sure my own personal assessment was correct; I made an attempt to ask for feedback from the audience/organizer. This feedback turned out to be positive. This feedback reshaped my mood again. Grateful the audience majority opinion was positive but even if it had been negative it would have helped in the future. The essence of the story is not to self-promote but to share lesson learnt. Now here are some lessons any one/brand must appreciate.

Body language/tone: People, target audience can read more meaning to your communication style in terms of brand’s language or tone. Always remember communication effectiveness does not depend alone on what you say. If a brand communication seems/appears to be pompous it may damage brand’s communication strategy. People listen more to your tone, body language in communication than what you are saying. One of the feedbacks appreciated my ability to be in my natural element.  Brand communication must understand and learn the best way of making provision for this.

Master the art of communication: What you give is what you receive. In life, we will reap the fruit of our communication seeds. Those who sow weeds of negativity, even when they are sincere, will reap full benefits. It is just a matter of time. Even when you need to communicate a negative remark, first appreciate a value and slot in the perceived negative in between. After this wrap it up and end with a recommendation that can help receiver. In the preceding sessions, i seemed to like one of the speaker’s presentations. The speaker knew his onion but his voice was shaking. In public speaking that communicates fears and lack of personal confidence to the audience. After his presentation, I made the mistake (not my common style) of pointing this out in my first sentence. I never knew that hurt the individual deeply. So he ‘secretly’ was nursing a wound and looking forward to fire the bullet. Therefore his first reaction was to me was ‘boring, lengthy I was sleeping’. As an individual I never take such statement as personal. But after a while, he came back to change his statement to  ‘your session was great I followed through’.  My first reaction was why the change in remarks? He confessed his initial reaction was based on revenge because of my reaction to his session. That taught me a great lesson in the arts of communication.

Be on point and never try to please everybody: As brand Communication professionals, sometime we try hard to please everyone. That is a great mistake. Trying to use one stone to kill a thousand birds will make you a failure. From the feedback I got, I discovered that my personal assessment which influenced my mood might have been based on a desire to win everyone in the crowd.

Do you have an experience to share?

13 Responses to “How feedback saved my brand from disaster”