Build brand by ensuring your employees are invested in your brand message, the products you make and the services you provide. Some employees are only interested in receiving a check and do not care about the products or services provided by the company, nor can they share why anyone else should.
I have the pleasure of helping my corporate clients develop, improve and communicate their corporate brands through each employee. We begin the process by interviewing the executive suite. Do they know the brand? Can they articulate the brand goals? We continue by walking around the company facilities (if possible), while meeting with many of the employees. During this initial review, we gather information about the company's products or services by the way their employees discuss or use the very products they provide along with how the employees represent themselves. Does the executive suite model the brand? Do the employees reflect the brand and breathe it into all they do? The best brands are built internally before they are shown externally. Many people think that the back-office employees don't need to represent the brand. Huge mistakes are made when this happens all employees must represent the brand in every interaction, whether in person or online. Brand drives everything including culture.
Quick check-up: How do your employees talk about the products and services you provide? Do they use them if possible? We can quickly spot the employees who are building brand value versus simply getting a paycheck. A recent Forbes column stated, "Stories have the ability to transport people to your world, so they're more likely to invest in you and your brand. Instead of million-dollar ads, Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh wanted each customer interaction to sell the brand. With positive word of mouth, every customer was telling the story of the company." If you want your customers to correctly tell your story, it is vital for your employees to share it well.
If employees are not representing the brand it is typically for one of two reasons. The first may be that the company has spent money on creating brand statements but has not shared with their employees what that meant for them or, they truly cannot articulate the brand. Either way, failure is inevitable. The key to any training is the idea that motivation must turn into transformation. If you do not give your employees the information they need to represent the brand, you will ultimately fail. Brand manuals, guides and communication are no longer options; they are standard if you want to succeed. If brand training is done well, employees will move from a basic brand or value awareness to being living, breathing brand billboards who support and confirm the fundamental tenets of the corporate brand. To simply know the brand words or phrases is not enough employees must be taught what that means for them in each communication and interaction with one another, the community and the clients.
A company we recently worked with spent a quarter of a million dollars to create brand statements, words, colors, fonts, brand message and so forth. When we arrived, we couldn't find one employee who could share even one of the brand statements. How do we correct this costly situation? Simple. We start with brand training that first focuses on the Personal Brand of each person versus the company brand of the company they work for. Employees that understand their unique values and gifts are employees that care about themselves and the personal brand they call their own. Everyone has a brand, and it is either positive or negative, but most employees think their brand is what they do, versus who they are. Start building your company brand by educating and helping your employees develop and share their own personal brand.
One way to increase value in your company is by hiring people who share a good personal brand versus trying to teach it to employees whose poor or uninformed brand is already entrenched in your business. How do you do this? You begin with an employee brand manual that helps HR professionals to recognize and hire individuals who exhibit the qualities that create a winning personal brand that complements your corporate brand. Can your HR department spot those who will best represent your brand during the interview process?
Great brands start internally, and the success of the corporate brand begins with passionate employees who understand their own value. This understanding leads to employees who build value in the corporate brands where they work.
Start today and help your employees understand their own personal brands and watch your corporate brand grow.
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