What do your employees know about your brand?

In our work with organizations, primarily in service professions (e.g. healthcare, consulting), we often find one critical audience overlooked–employees. Particularly for service organizations, employees are everything. They literally are the product! If they aren’t kept informed about your company’s mission, vision, values and desired brand image, they can’t help you support your brand.

The big question for you: do your employees understand your desired brand image? 
Your brand does little good to your organization if it lives only in your mind. Once you have taken the time to sit down to define and refine your brand strategy, put it in writing. Display your intended branding strategy prominently to employees. Your employees can’t be expected to represent your company’s brand if they aren’t fully aware of what that entails.

Simply informing your employees what the brand is will never be enough, of course. Take the time to train employees around the brand. If a follow-up phone call is company policy for post-service activities, make sure employees understand that this practice is key to the customer service element of your brand. This practice not only reinforces the importance of the brand in your organization, but helps employees connect the dots between their responsibilities and the desired outcome and encourage greater buy-in.

We have a white paper on “Branding Through Your Employees” that provides some specific tips and suggestions for how to ensure that employees are helping you to support your desired brand image.  We’ve also written about the topic for a variety of business publications.  Most recently “Making Employees Into ‘Ambassadors,'” a three-part series that appeared in an insurance industry publication.

It’s an important topic and a core strategy for any successful brand. And, importantly, it costs a lot less than the types of activities that organizations typically embark on when they think about branding–like paid advertising. Paid advertising can have a place, of course. But the first  step in successful branding is ensuring that employees are on board.

Are yours?

by Linda Pophal

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