There are lots of reasons why remote work continues to spike in popularity. It increases access to talent. It decreases the need for expensive office space. And the evolution of technology makes it way easier to collaborate even when folks are far apart.
The data speaks for itself:
- Between 2005 and 2017, the number of people who work remotely increased by 159%.
- In 2018, another study showed that 70% of people work at least one day a week from home.
- Research from the company Werk, found that employees were 2x more likely to switch jobs if they could get improved flexibility.
While remote work creates savings opportunities for businesses and more freedom for employees, it has some big challenges too.
As teammates have less overlap in where and when they work together, it becomes more difficult to keep everyone aligned.
Businesses with traditional office setups often rely on osmosis-via-proximity to communicate culture, vision, and goals. As that proximity evaporates it reveals the weaknesses of that approach.
When leadership assumes that everyone “just gets” their company vision and culture, it leaves the door wide open for misinterpretation and misalignment.
Those issues manifest in two key areas:
- Clarity around brand vision and goals
- Strength of brand values and culture
This is why it’s become so much more important for companies to clearly define and share these foundational aspects of their brand strategy.
Let’s look at how defining and sharing a company’s brand strategy addresses both.
1. Clarity Around Brand Vision and Goals
A brand’s vision and goals are tools to help communicate the big picture direction of the brand. Where is the business headed and how will it get there?
Without defining and sharing a brand’s vision and goals, it’s impossible to expect any group of people, large or small, to move in the same direction.
Sure everyone can stay busy working on projects and executing tasks, but how do they know whether those contributions are pushing things forward?
If people don’t have insight into what those efforts are building toward, at best you can expect a lot of inefficiency in their work. At worst, people might end up on different or even conflicting paths.
This issue only gets magnified with remote teams. A documented, shareable strategy is critical when folks operate in separate spaces, time zones, or even countries.
“How do you continue to arm every single person in the company with as much information as the CEO has? If you’re doing that, at least if there’s misalignment it’s not because they’re working off a different context.”
In other words, there will always be points of friction or misalignment in a company. That’s totally normal. What’s not OK is when misalignment comes because leadership neglected to share their vision and goals in a concrete way.
That creates problems that are totally unnecessary and avoidable.
2. Strength of Brand Values and Culture
If vision and goals provide the direction for a brand, the values and culture are the glue that hold everyone together on the journey.
And creating a strong brand culture isn’t easy. It requires everyone to buy into a cohesive set of ideals and act on them consistently. It starts with leadership, but it takes everyone on the team to embody and enforce those values with one another.
While in-person interactions aren’t required to establish culture, they do provide regular opportunities to experience values in action. It allows teammates to learn from one another and for leaders to see team dynamics from a big picture perspective.
For remote employees, their culture touchpoints may come largely through text — things like group chat, email, and project updates. Video helps bridge that gap as well, but it always comes through a specific, limited window
Because of those constraints, it’s that much more important to define, share, and review brand values with everyone.
Without an agreed upon set of values, it leaves everyone open to interpret the brand’s way of operating on their own. And when issues come up, there’s no consistent way to evaluate and discuss them.
Well defined values are key regardless of team structure, but with remote workers that documentation may need to fill the gaps that consistent personal interactions can’t.
Keep Remote Employees Aligned, Productive, and Happy
As we continue to develop tools that improve how we communicate virtually, we also have to keep our eyes on what we communicate.
It’s not enough to share project tasks and timelines. To keep teams aligned they need fundamental definitions for where the business is going and how everyone should operate along the way.
A well defined brand strategy covers key elements from customer motivations, to competitive positioning, to your tone of voice. But it should also provide the guardrails to keep everyone moving in the right direction.
As more and more teams spend time working further and further apart, the necessity of having a crystal clear brand strategy is only going to increase.
Align Your Team With A Clear Brand Strategy
If you’re ready to develop stronger alignment and culture within your team, reach out for a free consultation. We’ll help you transform your best business thinking into an actionable, shareable, growth-oriented guide. Click below to learn more about the Brand Guidebook process.