There are three questions to answer when the peace builder is thinking about the nature of building a brand in the digital market:
•    What value do my products, services, processes, and products deliver to the specific audience I’m looking for?
•    What feedback will that specific audience provide to me and will that feedback be actionable, relevant and useful for developing and improving my offerings?
•    What conversations are already taking place about the value of my products, services, processes; where are those conversations taking place; and how do I engage with those conversations?

These seem like complicated questions, but in reality, answering them lays the foundation for active engagement in developing a peacebuilding brand, rather than passive acceptance of a market based verdict.

On value—There are two perspectives on value, and only one perspective wins in the market. The first perspective is that of the peace builder. If a divorce mediator believes that their approach to mediation is the only worthwhile one in the divorce mediation market, then that belief is enough to start courageously. However, the second perspective, which is that of the participants in the mediation, the judges or lawyers who make referrals to the mediator, and many others is the perspective that creates value. This chain of values is uncontrollable for the most part after the product leaves the divorce mediators’ head—or heart.

On feedback—The best way to determine the value of products, services and processes, is for the peace builder to gather feedback aggressively from the people who have actually taken advantage of the offered value. This can happen informally through face-to-face conversations, or it can happen through formal surveys and exit interviews with product users/process participants. There are two parts to feedback and the peace builder must combine the feedback from the user, with the impressions that they have about the feedback they have received. This is the tough part, because all brand feedback is neither valuable, nor particularly relevant. 

On engagement—There used to be very few ways to engage in active conversations with a peace builders’ market. However, with the explosion of social media, forums, email communication, direct communication through blog comments, and many other ways, a peace builder can become deluged with the level of engagement possible with their audience. This is a good problem to have; but the thing to remember is that all engagement is not created equally. Nor is all engagement valuable to the peace builder. The gossamer is determining which engagement on which platform is valuable, and which engagement is merely noise, sound and fury.

Answering the top three questions about value, feedback and engagement can change a peace builder’s perspective on developing a brand, and give that person more control over the nature of the conversation around what they offer.

Questions or feedback about this?  Write to me at jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com or connect with me via Twitter @Sorrells79 or check out my Facebook Business page and leave a comment there, or message me on LinkedIn.

By Jesan Sorrell

Jesan Sorrells is the founder, owner and principal conflict engagement consultant at Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT), a boutique, private, conflict communication and corporate training consultancy, based out of Endicott, NY. HSCT focuses on delivering Christian based, alternative dispute resolution solutions in the areas of conflict communication, conflict skills development and conflict consulting for a variety of clients, including corporations, higher education organizations and nonprofits. HSCT accomplishes this by leveraging cutting edge, pioneering and entrepreneurial resolutions to conflict, communications, social media, and organizational development for its clients through trainings, seminars, workshops and 1-on-1 consulting. http://www.hsconsultingandtraining.com