I was once involved with a corporate organisation in Nigeria with a great vision and capable leadership. Management was at the time expanding the business and there was the need to employ more staff which they did. Unfortunately, at the time they were hiring, there was a bit of trouble at the Managerial level and like many corporate settings, news trickled down fast, employees took sides and the whole rebranding effort was wasted. The company did not see the need for a professional branding effort at the time and internal communication was at zero level. To cut the long story short, the company could not deliver on its promises to its newly employed staff as problems were still being sorted at the Managerial level; the employees’ productivity level dropped, sales dwindled and customers got a hint of the unease within the organisation and they fled. The newly employed staff started leaving one after the other and as they left, it became increasingly difficult to get new employees for replacement as the company had been branded as one that could not retain staff and was incapable of fulfilling its promises to customers.
Getting your employees as part of your branding efforts is not just wise; it is beneficial to your company growth. In a previous post, why Branding your Business is the Best Marketing Plan, we established that branding is much more than your tag line and logo, but more of the physical and psychological attributes attached to your business, product or service. These attributes are created by mental images and the delivery of what your brand promises to offer especially at the point of contact with your brand; that is when customers buy from you, hear about you and interact with your brand. As the intermediary between your brand and your customers, it is important that your employees understand everything about your brand and respect its values. If your brand promises to deliver exceptional customer service, what good is it if an employee is rude and obnoxious to your customers?
Your employees have to become worthy brand ambassadors. Why? Because a marketing effort is collaborative; it involves efforts by your brand, customers (existing and potential) and your employees. As the major custodians of brand, your employees are actually your best brand ambassadors.
Here are 3 reasons why:
- Your employees can bring in new customers and retain existing customers just by respecting your brand values
It’s not just about the Customer Service department; everyone in the company from the lowest to the highest paid has the mandate of bringing in new customers and retaining existing ones. It does not have to be through direct sales or extraordinary pitches or even creative advertising, but through their reflection of the brand. How do your employees interpret your brand’s culture? Do they even understand what it means and why they should reflect the brand at every point of contact with your customers? Remember, the point of bringing in and retaining customers is to increase sales.
For example, I recently read an article by Richard Branson on smiling as one of his company’s cultures of engaging with customers. For him, this is the core of his brand’s values – practising an open door policy and creating a relaxing environment.
What are your brand’s core values and how have you ensured your employees interpret them?
- Your employees contribute in creating a reputation for your brand
Let’s first decide what is at stake – your brand’s reputation. A satisfied employee is a happy brand ambassador. Now, I know it will be asking too much to completely satisfy all your employees, but satisfaction can be measured in different ways not just in terms of financial gains – does the job challenge the employee and give him/her opportunity to develop career enhancing skills? Does the job provide room for growth within the organisation? Is the employee proud of the organisation’s history, culture and values? These are a few questions your employee needs to answer, which your HR team can research on every half a year.
A dissatisfied employee will not be as productive as he or she ought to be at his job. Sometimes, this dissatisfaction reflects in the way the employee treats customers and that contact may end up giving your company a bad name. And as you know bad news travels fast. The employee will waste no time spreading bad news about your company or refusing to associate with the brand outside work hours which is a poor representation to potential customers.
- Your employees can help you get the best talents
The best talents are wary of the organisations they join, and they will want to know beforehand if the company and the position will enhance or diminish his career. One of the sure ways to find out is asking employees already working there. A satisfied employee will be quick to refer your company to a new talent and position your brand in the best light to attract the best hands. If not, a dissatisfied employee will bad mouth your brand and chase away great talents.
From the reasons above, I have outlined the need for internal communication which will be discussed in subsequent posts. This is one strategy that works for many big organisations and if your business is a small-medium sized one, I guarantee you can benefit from it too.
Do you have more to add? I would love to hear from you.
Ifesinachi helps business owners increase sales by using engagement strategies to create remarkable brands and customer experiences for clients. She is a Marketing Communication Consultant at 18th Republic MM. For Consultation, Staff Training or just ask a question, you can send her a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 6 Major Marketing Mistakes and What you can Learn from Them (smartmarketingforbrands.wordpress.com)
- Brands Are Like People And People Are Like Brands (bulldogdrummond.com)
- The Importance of Creating a Brand for Your Business (enigmediamarketing.com)