Walking the brand walk
In brand building, actions speak louder than words. Here are a few thoughts on defining your brand so your employees get it, feel it, believe it, and live it.
If a brand is a promise, then it's not only delivered through your product or service, but also through your employees and their behaviors. That means your people are more valuable than ever. After all, they're the main ambassadors for the brand -- and they help make loyalists out of others.
Not surprisingly, defining your brand for your employees starts with looking at your customers and clients. From there, you can look inward at the things that make your company and culture unique.
Know Your Audiences.
Brands are the byproduct of the customer/client experience. Help your employees understand your customers by sharing information and insights about the "ideal client" and how you serve them.
Know What They Want.
Encourage your team to think about your audiences and what they care about. Is it customer service, value, experience, or something else? When everyone understands the customer's expectations, they can identify ways your business helps deliver on its promise.
It Can't Be Canned.
Your employees should be able to talk about the company's value proposition, competitive advantages, and unique features or benefits. Rather than simply reading them from a script, it's important that team members can also talk about why those differences are important to your customers.
Take a Personality Test.
Is your company's personality sophisticated, approachable, confident, trustworthy, edgy, or fun? Ask your people to describe the corporate culture. Challenge them to think about how that image is expressed when they answer the phone, sign their emails, or even decorate their workspaces.
Repeat Your History.
People take pride in their company's heritage. In fact, tradition can often be a rallying cry during tough times for the business. A compelling, honest story is not just hard to "make up," it's also nearly impossible for competitors to copy. That makes your company's history one of your brand's most valuable assets. Teach your employees about the history of the business, and make sure they know how to share that story with new hires and clients.
See the Future.
Help employees understand where the company is going and how they contribute to its success.
Aim for the Heart.
Employees must understand and internalize the brand story -- so it will show up in their day-to-day activities.
Don't Try This at Home.
All too often, businesses make the mistake of scheduling a "work session" with the aim of developing new mission or vision statements. Sometimes those exercises produce something that actually ends up cutting through the clutter and inspiring people. Most of the time, leadership is too close to the problem -- and they may lack the resources to create something that sets the tone and direction for a business and a brand.
Take the First Step.
Building relationships with customers and clients is a delicate dance. It takes self-awareness, understanding of your audiences, and a clearly defined plan that makes it easy for your team to practice what you preach. In other words, it takes good thinking.
We'd love to know how your employees deliver on your brand's promise. Share your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.