“Customers will never love a business until its employees love it first”
If you define a brand as the sum of ‘everything you say and everything you do’ it stands to reason that it should also embrace everybody in a company.
In our brand workshops we often find ourselves repeating the mantra that brands tend to be made in the boardroom and broken on the shop floor. The board generally buys into the whole process, subscribes to paying for it and plays a role in formulating the values, behaviours and proposition which will help define the brand. Often these are then pushed downwards with varying degrees of commitment, conviction and professionalism. Like ripples in a pond, as the message spreads wider it often becomes weaker until it barely breaks the surface, let alone enthuses, engages and informs behaviours.
A brand is essentially a promise of performance, so unless you engage the makers and deliverers of that performance, you don’t have as strong a brand as you could have.
If a brand helps customers understand why they should care beyond a mere transaction, it can also help employees understand why they should care beyond their wage packet.
So that’s the issue. What’s the solution? Simply to place the same value on your internal audience as your external ones. Engage early, listen at least as much as you talk and communicate clearly and often through any and all channels they interact with.
Educating the whole
When we rebranded one of Britain’s leading independent schools, we held workshops not only with the Senior Management Team but also pupils, parents, teachers and governors.
Having engaged them in creating the brand story (and gleaned unique insights) we then held open evenings to share how and why the new brand came to be.
Teachers and admissions staff were further engaged with desk drops, posters and simple brand guides for those creating collateral.
Taking values to heart
L3-TRL is a ‘national treasure’ – an advanced electronics company supporting governments and agencies in the fields of electronic warfare and cyber security.
Working in true partnership with the marketing team, we created the powerful proposition ‘one step ahead’ – not only as a tag-line for their product superiority but as a call to arms for everybody to strive to be the best they could be to combat threats to national and data security.
Although very much a B2B company, the have bought into brand wholeheartedly, engaging staff in cascades, bringing the brand to life in premises and, invaluably, bedding the brand values into HR’s personal performance reviews.
Taking our own medicine
We recognised early on that if we are going to preach brand, we need to take our own medicine and live it to the max ourselves.
Hence our proposition to clients to ‘Make Winning More Fun’ and to ensuring everyone understands how they can make that promise come to life.
You can best experience the realities of this promise here winningmademorefun.co.uk.
But the essence of who we are is brought to life in our building, our comms, even our loos, in our weekly cake bake, the brand pyramid on our wall, our regular staff meetings, our show and tell, random acts of kindness and people generally being good to people.
There is a growing view amongst organisational thought leaders that culture trumps strategy in creating success. Happy, engaged people will do better work and find ways to create success, whereas success doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness for all. Everyone believing in, and contributing to, a clearly defined brand is a great bedrock for cultural success to be built on.
“A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Remember, that’s your people, not just your customers and prospects.