Friday, May 31, 2013

Brand Strategy: If You Get Employees on Board, Customers Are Easy

When I checked the bill, all they charged me for was the tire. No labor or anything — just the cost of the tire.
I called them back and the guy on the phone said, “You and your family are such good customers that this was on us.” 
My wife was driving home last week and had a slow flat on the interstate. She was able to creep into Meinke where we get all of our cars serviced. They promptly came out and took all her worries away. Long story short, the work was done and in a short time, she was on her way home.
Moral of the story? We’re now a confirmed customer for LIFE. 
This highlights something you should know: everyone that works in your business is a brand ambassador, from the lowest rung on the org chart to the top executive. We sometimes falsely assume that it’s only when you get higher up in the organization that branding matters. However branding has a lot more effect when it is contagious down to the street level.
The importance of touch points
How many times have we gone into retail establishments and the employees went above and beyond for you? Those encounters always tend to chisel an impression into our psyche. On the other hand, when the opposite happens and we are rudely treated as if we are bothering them, that also has an effect. Studies however, have shown that the later experience is shared amongst friends more so than the former.
Companies spend enormous amounts of time and money developing, strategizing, and implementing marketing campaigns about who they are to their target audience and anyone else who will listen.
A companies brand is not just a cute marketing statement or some logo. Regardless of what your advertising campaign is, if your employees do not embody your message, as the say in The Sopranos, “fuhgeddaboudit. “ It’s just not happening.
Yes, but do your employees get it?
Companies can ignore employees at their own peril, however, they are the best advertisement you could ever have. If they live the brand that syncs to your marketing message, you are at the intersection of nirvana.
I had an experience at a local chain here in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia the other day (where I am working as an HR leader). I bought an extension card, took it home, and it was the wrong type. So I put it back in the container and on my way home from work, I stopped by not for a refund but an exchange.
When I went to customer service, you would have thought that I was asking for double my money back. Because I had opened the package, the clerk adamantly refused to exchange it and basically walked away.
I asked for the manger and he apologized and gave me one that was already opened. My suggestion to him was that his customer service reps need a lot of training and I would not be coming back to shop there at all. So, customer lost and the story was repeated at work the next day.
Branding means starting with employees first
The customer experience is paramount, whether in a retail environment or inside a call center. If that touch point with the customer is not a branding experience, you have lost.
Each one of your employees is responsible for delivering what your brand promises. And if the employees don’t get it, their attitudes and behavioral patterns towards clients, colleagues, partners, suppliers means that the branding effort will have been in vain.
Your entire organization is constantly at risk because in this age of social media. Yes, bad news travels especially fast!
As part of your “brand strategy” you have got to get your employees to live it. An engaged workforce goes a long way in upholding that strategy. One the other hand, regardless of the campaign you devise if your employees don’t get it, it is not going to matter.
So before you go into that conference room to start talking brand, make a detour into your workforce.
That is an important first step. The process must begin by explaining to all employees the essence of the brand and what it is all about. The company must clearly define and elaborate the desirable traits and behaviors that they want their employees to exhibit. Most importantly, they should solicit feedback from those very same employees
And if that key component of your branding effort — your employees — do not know what the brand stands for, it is hardly reasonable to expect that they will be able to “live it.”
One day smart companies will spend the money getting more insight into their employees before they start the journey of getting to know their customers. They just might find that if you get the former right, the latter is a piece of cake.

4 comments:

  1. good post.....nice information ..........Employee onboarding is beneficial for companies especially for those who are after efficiency and productivity.

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  2. Murdoch Marketing is consumer and B2B advertising agency with expertise in digital and traditional advertising, promotion and media services. We create, execute and manage marketing communications programs that help clients increase profits, build brands and grow market share.
    Marketing Communications

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  3. Brand Managers generally look after a particular brand in a company, they are in charge of taking the brand forward in terms of the overall strategy this can mean PR/Above the line etc but also reporting to the MM, whereas the Marketing Manager looks after the marketing of brand(s) and in a big company that can mean multiple brands.

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