• June 4, 2024

Business Leaders and Employees Agree That Company Identities Must Change

Article Featured Image

Eighty-four percent of business leaders and employees report their companies' identities must significantly change to achieve strategic objectives, according to reseaarch that Gartner unveiled today at its Marketing Symposium in Denver.

The Gartner Marketing and Narrative Impact Survey also found that 75 percent of respondents agree their organizations must do a better job aligning external audiences' views with company identity and direction.

Despite marketing's accountability, 72 percent of leaders report their marketing function is not instrumental to their company's business evolution.

"Nearly all companies are evolving in some way to set themselves up for future success, whether by shifting capabilities or offerings, catching up to market expectations, or reaching new target audiences," said Dorian Cundick, vice president of advisory in the Gartner Marketing Practice. "This presents a huge opportunity for marketers to bring audiences along to support this journey, fueling revenue growth and helping increase perceptions of marketing as a critical partner in business evolution."

Gartner's research also found that when audiences understand companies business evolution, they're more likely to buy from, work for, or otherwise support those companies. In fact, business leaders who report strong audience understanding of their business evolution are 1.4 times more likely to surpass revenue objectives.

"Marketing leaders must invest in a corporate narrative to create a bridge between brand and strategy," Cundick said. "While the story of who an organization is and where it's going is a powerful tool to support business evolution, it isn't as effective as it could be. The average employee uses them only about a third of the time. Infrequent use of narrative material is associated with a lower likelihood of exceeding performance goals."

Gartner research also found that skewing leadership efforts toward activation relative to development lifts business performance by 23 percent. When leaders focus disproportionately on activation, they also rated marketing as more instrumental to their company business evolution.

"Marketing is most likely to be seen as a strategic partner in business evolution when leaders play a significant role in narrative activation efforts like mobilizing the narrative externally through campaigns, as opposed to development activities like finalizing the narrative framework, or testing it with key stakeholders," Cundick said. "Leadership involvement in activation helps ensure that narrative materials have fit, meaning they're contextualized for employees' needs and are more likely to connect key audiences to the narrative."

The Gartner Marketing and Narrative Impact Survey also found that most employees are trying to accomplish at least one of the following three things when they communicate about company identity and direction:<

  • 79 percent want to align, creating line of sight between individuals and organizational identity.
  • 64 percent want to persuade, influencing others in support of organizational identity and direction.
  • 80 percent want to connect, building a sense of personal and shared connection to the organizational identity and direction.

As a result, Gartner recommends that marketing teams should create resources like guidelines, proof points, tools, and templates to help employees align and persuade others. For the connect use case, draft messaging and experiences that help employees see themselves in the narrative. Many of these materials can be developed at the same time as the narrative itself is being finalized, as long as different teams coordinate their efforts, it said.

"When CMOs play a more strategic and visible role in business evolution, business performance improves and marketing's value becomes more clear," Cundick said.

CRM Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues