“I have a logo. That’s all I need, isn’t it?”
Use your brand to train & empower your employees
When asked, many people will describe a brand as a company’s logo, tagline, the style of their ads and/or their mascot if one exists. However, a strong, effective brand goes well beyond those superficial characteristics. Logos and such are merely symbols that represent your company’s mission, values and vision for your business.
Empowerment starts with your story
Another popular misconception about branding is that it’s only intended for the public. In reality, your brand story and brand promise are drawn from your mission and vision statements, which answer the question of why and how you do business. Now, a set of branding guidelines will never take the place of official business policies, but a memorable story can carry the message better than rigidly set rules. Ongoing, proactive internal communications can train your staff and keep them motivated.
Make sure they are well equipped
The best training in the world is worthless unless you allow your employees some autonomy to make decisions that align with your business strategies. Once your staff understands how they should embody your brand in practical terms, give them the authority to act accordingly.
Typically, when someone realizes that he or she plays a key role in helping a company meet their goals, they become invested in that company’s success. Having an employee who knows everything about your brand and how to support its growth leads to higher productivity and dedication.
Further, consistently meeting your customers’ or clients’ needs can’t be handled solely by the marketing department. Any contact a customer has with your brand, be it at the store, call centre, or on social media, can either strengthen or erode your reputation.
Essentially, everyone who works for you is a marketer, a customer service rep and a salesperson. Even those who have no direct contact with the public (IT, HR, purchasing, accounting, etc.) have a role to play in meeting customer expectations.
Empowered employees as brand advocates
Good brand advocacy from within your organization comes with buy-in from your employees and buy-in is almost always a product of empowerment. It’s not enough for them to passively know and apply your brand guidelines. You want them to share their deeper understanding and knowledge with colleagues, friends and family, and do it with real enthusiasm—especially on social media, where word of mouth is amplified, positive impressions are made and reputations are built.*
Ideally, seeing your logo brings up a specific set of ideas and feelings you want your target audience(s) to experience. The hard work of building and maintaining your brand is worth it if you can trigger emotions like trust, humour, excitement, relaxation, curiosity, safety, etc. with a simple graphic image. By using those guidelines to train and empower your staff, you have a better than average chance that they will speak and act on-brand, further contributing to the power of your brand.
*Note that you will want to create guidelines for employees sharing work-related items on social platforms. For now, I’ll just say that one of the conditions of employees writing about work-related items is that they make it VERY CLEAR they work for your company. I will share more on this topic in a future blog.
© 2021-2022 Tracey Copeland, Rolling Sands Consulting.