The How To Guide For Communicating Your Brand Right
Are Your Employees Making the Expected Impression?
You hired your receptionist to answer phone calls, and your support team to solve customers’ problems. But as it turns out, they have a different job as well. Are they doing this job well, or are they botching up and not giving your brand the image it deserves?
While your receptionist is answering the phone, something much bigger than the conversation is happening. Your customer is mentally editing what she thinks about your company. And when she bumps into another employee at a cafe, she starts editing again.
Every one of your employees is an ambassador for your company. Good ambassadors boost your corporate image and make your marketing and branding pay off with exponentially higher dividends. Here’s how to make sure all of your employees are doing their job as ambassadors.
What is the Right Impression?
The right impression doesn’t only mean being cordial and well groomed. It means presenting an image that is consistent with your corporate image and identity. For example, your website and ads might portray you as a very warm, customer-centric company. Your customers call, expecting friendly and warm support. But if your support team is helpful, yet aloof and crisp, your customers meet a clash between the image you present, and what they themselves experienced. What can you do to make sure that when your clients edit their picture of your brand, the result isn’t ‘this brand is inconsistent'?
Is the Bigger Picture Something They See?
Does every person on payroll know what your company stands for?
Do they know how what your main causes and strategies are?
Or how your company presents itself through its marketing and PR efforts?
Or, do they only know that they have to be at their office at 9, answer phone calls and buzz people in, and clock out at 5?
Fact is, every brand has a bigger and loftier picture, no matter how mundane it may appear at first glance.
In Real Life
Stacy takes inquiries at Pro-Peddic, a company that manufactures orthopedic shoes, mainly targeting middle-aged women. But she’s not just answering phone calls from women complaining about their feet’s aches and pains. That would cause her to sound bored and irritable by the time the fifth caller of the day came around.
Stacy is an agent who is empowering women to enjoy life and defy being chained down to the limits of age. She knows and believes her company’s promise of “Age Joyfully” and her every phone call shows that. Do Pro-Peddic’s customers believe that Pro-Peddic is really there to help them age with dignity and joy, and prefer this brand when purchasing orthopedic shoes? You bet.
Your brand, too, has a meaningful promise. When your employees get to know that promise, they will become your best ambassadors and public relations agents.
4 Questions to Ask Every Single Employee
1- Do you know what our organization stands for, and what makes us different from every other competing brand?
2- Do you understand our company’s brand promise?
3- Can you explain the most important elements of our brand identity?
4- Do you know how you personally can deliver on the company’s brand promise?
What if They Don’t Know the Answers?
According to Gallup, only 41% of employees know the answer to these questions. That means that most employees are missing out on opportunities every day to uphold your corporate image.
How can you change that?
How You Can Unite Your Company With Your Brand
Discuss the core elements of your company's brand identity - very often. Use minute meetings or staff gatherings to provide specific examples of how your employees can boost the brand image and deliver its promise.
Make sure that every employee understands how his or her job affects the customer experience.
Print wallet cards and wall signs that state your brand promise and goals.
Recognize employees who deliver your brand promise to customers. This will motivate them to continue delivering, and other employees to start.
Will Customers’ First Impression Last?
One of the most important things for you to do is to make sure that every employee can answer the 4 questions mentioned above. Not just the receptionists and support department.
Why is this so important?
Customers crave consistency. They like brands which are consistent and reliable, where they know what to expect. When everyone in your company is on the same page, when every employee delivers the brand promise- customers trust you, rate you on Yelp with 5 stars, and refer you to others. Whether they’re speaking to a support rep or talking to a manager, the brand experience should be the same.
A Helpful Little P.S.
This article is a small focus on an important topic: that of brand alignment. Here are some book suggestions for more insight into the concept of brand alignment, on how to make your entire staff deliver on your brand.
Published by the Harvard Business School, this book is a practical guide on the value of brand alignment, with in-depth recommendations on how to unify all your employees to deliver on your brand promise.
This is the fascinating story of how a former paratrooper was hired by her father to turn around his failing chain of high-end kitchenware retail stores. Amy Berlin succeeded in doing so by aligning all her employees with the brand purpose. The book walks through her process and the lessons she learned about brand alignment to succeed.
Remember- it takes work and effort to unite your entire staff within your brand identity, but the results are amply worth it.