If Your Employees Aren’t Living Your Brand, Your Clients Aren’t Experiencing It.
You’ve branded your business (or refreshed your brand). You’re ready for today’s new marketing and sales opportunities. You’re actually standing out against the competition. Good for you!
One caution: Your brand won’t come to life for your clients and prospects unless you first fully integrate it into the everyday life of your firm. A company with employees who don’t live and breathe its brand every single day has a brand that’s merely window dressing. It will fall flat when people in the outside world experience it. A brand without depth is one that prospective clients will reject.
Here are thirteen easy-to-execute ideas that will bring your brand to life inside your business.
- Start at the top. Ensure C-suite executives, Vice Presidents and other leaders at your firm demonstrate its brand attributes in everything they say and do. The best way for employees to get to know your brand is to learn it by example.
- Offer flexible training. Many firms either forget to provide employee brand training or offer a single once-and-done session. Workers are busy and constantly on-call these days. In addition, most people can’t absorb every aspect of a brand in a single meeting. Consider offering flexible training online or record live training sessions and make them available on your intranet site so employees can engage with the content when it’s convenient.
- Make it easy. Set-up a simple, easy-to-access web portal where employees can find brand-related information on demand. Employees will be more likely to follow brand guidelines if they can access them whenever they need to.
- Celebrate success. If a co-worker provides exceptional client service in line with your brand, make it a point to recognize it. Post a story on your employee website. Make sure you include clear information about what the employee did that was a good reflection of the brand. This will make it easier for others to emulate the positive behavior.
- Brand everything. Some companies focus their branding efforts on big things like advertising, websites and other high-profile, public facing marketing assets. Don’t stop there. Paying attention to small, everyday touch points is just as important. Take time to brand every consumer and prospect interaction, including call center scripts, chat guidelines and social media responses. Employees will be more likely to represent your brand effectively if they have tools and support materials that help them do so.
- Explaining your brand isn’t once and done. It’s not enough to make a big “splash” with employees when you first release your brand guidelines. You must keep the message fresh and top-of-mind over time. Create and implement an internal editorial calendar and marketing plan that presents new brand support messages to employees on an ongoing basis.
- Identify brand experts. No matter how well you document and share brand guidelines and information, employees will have questions about them. Identify a group of brand marketers who understand them well and are able to interpret them for others. Make it easy to contact these employees in-person, over-the-phone, through email or via chat. Publish a schedule of when these brand experts are available along with how to get in touch with them.
- Honor brand stewards. Share stories about marketers who leverage your brand in novel and effective ways. Publishing documented successes will make it clearer to others what good use of your brand assets looks like.
- Take it out of the office. Get employees involved in community activities that let them live your brand outside the workplace. Practicing your brand’s core values in a non-work environment is a good way to deepen employee understanding of them.
- Provide clear feedback. If someone misses the mark on living the brand on the job, give them clear and actionable feedback that will help them improve. Most people don’t purposely misinterpret a brand. They do so because they don’t understand it.
- Document answers to commonly asked questions. Over time, you’ll discover that certain brand-related issues come up internally on a regular basis. Develop a FAQ that covers them and post it with your brand guidelines.
- Reward good brand behavior. Make adherence to brand standards and values part of your annual review and reward program. Encourage employees to set personal goals aligned with your brand and reward them financially and with promotions when they achieve them.
- Keep it fresh. It’s easy for a brand to get stale. Meet with your co-workers consistently to find out what’s working and what’s not. Consider updating you brand based on their feedback. Engaging employees in developing and refreshing your brand while acknowledging their input makes it more likely they’ll be advocates for the brand they had a hand in creating.
Interested in developing or refreshing your company’s brand? Check out Carpenter Group’s perspective on this key issue. We’ve worked with most of the best-known and relevant brands in the financial and professional services industries for more than thirty years. Contact us to discuss how we can take your brand to the next level.