Strategic Marketing is Part of Successful Succession Planning

Succession planning is effectively preparing an entity to go from being led by one specific individual or group to another specific individual or group. Whether its new board members or new staff members, succession planning is about managing change more effectively to minimize any negative impact on the organization itself.

Succession planning involves a strategic look at what we have now, what we need to do to prepare, and how we manage the change and mitigate negative effects. A huge part of this is effective communication during transition.

Overcoming the cult of personality

  • “This place will fall apart without her!”

  • “Everyone knows her in our industry, and now that she’s leaving we are going to crash and burn.”

  • “I trust in her based on our long relationship, but I don’t know if I can keep working with the company now that she’s fallen ill.”

If your organization itself is not strong and confident in its own cultural underpinnings and identity (i.e. stakeholders are confused or disorganized or lack confidence in the brand), then the transition is going to be more about the individuals involved in the transition. That anxiety of not knowing what the institution/organization stands for, has going for it, or is working toward will be manifest in fear over the loss of our Dear Leader.

Marketing Supports Succession Planning

Effective strategic marketing is part of a successful succession planning process. Marketers can facilitate effective succession planning by opening lines of communication, formalizing vision/mission/values, clarifying job descriptions, transitioning brand value from "the leader" culture to "the organizational" culture, AND documenting the outgoing leadership's institutional knowledge in the form of content marketing.

Brand-building with internal and external stakeholders is a continual practice of engagement, evaluation, and change. The stronger the brand and the culture surrounding that brand, the easier it will be to change the individuals at the helm - fostering a culture where stakeholders will want to be a part of building, protecting, and growing the brand, and not fighting to remake it in their image.