It’s hard enough to brand your company to the watching world. It’s even harder if you have failed to cement the brand within your own company.
Company communications are too often like the game of telephone. One child whispers a word to the next and that child whispers to the next and at the end of the line, after several whispers, the last child has a totally different word whispered to her. She announces it and everyone laughs.
Except that it’s not funny when your frontline workers didn’t “hear” the branding elements that the owner spent years and a fortune to develop.
Your company understands your brand if everybody at your company can answer these questions without hesitation:
- What does our logo look like?
- What is our mission statement?
- Who is our target market?
- Where do we fit into the industry?
- What do we stand for?
- What are we trying to achieve?
If that all can’t, or if everyone is not exactly on point, then your company does not fully understand your brand. Here’s what you can do about it.
Training (of Course)
The single best way to make sure everyone in your organization knows who you are and what you represent is through training. Make sure your employees know what your brand stands for, why it stands for those things, and how they can best communicate that to your customers.
When businesses invest in training, they create a more informed and enthusiastic workforce because it’s a common human trait to want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, (think sororities, churches, the military). This leads directly to better customer service.
Hire Employees Who Match Your Brand
When companies hire new people who do not understand or match their brand’s values, it has a negative impact on the company’s overall performance. Businesses start losing customers because of this disconnect between employees and customers. Just imagine if Apple started hiring salespeople who thought PCs were better than Macs, or if Starbucks started hiring baristas who were cynical about coffee.
Speak the Language
Customers and prospects alike want to hear from a company that speaks their language, and they expect companies to use their vocabulary. If your brand talks about “the cloud” but your team uses “the internet,” people will be confused and frustrated that you don’t understand what they’re talking about.
When it comes to marketing collateral like sales scripts, product descriptions, content on the website, etc., everyone in the organization needs to know your brand’s particular language; this helps make sure everything is consistently presented.
More importantly, all marketing material reflects the personality of the brand: when employees start speaking the same language, it makes customers feel like they’re in good hands.
Walk the Walk
If your company’s culture does not support its brand, the brand will fail. Employees need to be able to feel proud of who they are working for and how they spend their time at work. If employees are unhappy with what you’re doing, it will come across in customer interactions eventually.
Brands that have strong cultures match their values to business practices consistently. A good example is GoPro, which has used extreme sports as a backdrop for marketing campaigns since day one. Not only do their customers love this, but GoPro employees also go skydiving, biking, kiteboarding (and more) on company time.
Keep It Consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to ensuring that everyone in your organization understands and represents your brand. If the marketing department makes a big change to your brand voice, all marketing collateral needs to be adjusted accordingly so it’s still consistent across channels.
Treat every piece of communication about your brand with care: for example, if you hire someone new and give them exclusive access to LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter accounts for posting updates about the company, make sure they know how their posts should reflect the company and what types of posts should stay off each platform.
Write It Down
A huge part of culture is the unwritten rules that employees pick up over time; this includes understanding why certain things are done a certain way at work. When it comes to reinforcing your brand, these rules are hard to teach through experience alone.
For example, posts on social media that give customers valuable information about using your product are likely valuable for search engine optimization purposes as well, but some employees may not know this without being told. If key company values aren’t written down somewhere so new hires can learn them easily, you’ll have a harder time making sure your brand is effectively represented across the organization at all times.
Get Your Employees Involved
Doing things right isn’t just about having employees who understand your brand – it’s also about empowering them to put that understanding into practice every day. When employees feel like they’re part of the team and have a sense of ownership, they’re rooting for it to succeed just as much as you are.
If you give employees a voice in how your brand is perceived, they may feel more respected and valued by management, which leads to happy and engaged workers. And that’s going to reflect back on the company brand.
Every member of the organization should be actively involved in reinforcing your brand, not just marketing gurus or executives. In fact, branding isn’t something only marketing can handle: if customer service agents answer calls from unhappy customers who complain about product quality or support issues, those reps know how to talk about your product in a way that reinforces your brand. If they don’t pass the message along to managers or engineers, chances are you’ll hear about it in reviews or turnover rates when employees try to move somewhere they feel respected.
These are some good suggestions as to what to do to reinforce your brand. What should you do to develop that brand in the first place? Contact New Target and let us help you avoid those branding blunders!