A brand isn’t just the pretty packaging you put around your organization, or at least it shouldn’t be if it’s meant to last. A future-proof brand is one that has the actual backing of your talent. The brand really takes root in the company culture, so organizations need to thoughtfully craft their culture today, to translate into a solid brand tomorrow.
“Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.” -Founder and President of LogoYes.com, John Williams
Until very recently, being customer-centric was considered best practice, and employees fell somewhere near the bottom of the value totem pole. Organizations are finally getting employee-centric, and experiencing the power in acknowledging, praising and empowering their workers with positive motivators.
We’ve always known that customer service and support can make or break a company. No matter how great your product or service is, if customers don’t feel cared for and valued, they aren’t coming back and they certainly aren’t going to become brand ambassadors. So how does that equate to organizations becoming employee-centric?
A culture of motivation
Employees are the ones delivering the value and care! It all boils down to discretionary effort on behalf of the employee. On average, people work at less than 50% of their capacity. Therefore, a company culture that is aimed at employee motivation and value could potentially double their productivity.
The new motivation
The fact is that a leader’s motivation and passion aren’t just going to soak into employees through osmosis, nor will fear or intimidation tactics do the trick. Traditional corporate motivation needs to be looked at in a totally different way in order for the brand to survive. The new motivation is based on meeting the emotional needs of the employee; positive motivators like rewards, recognition, open communication, organizational transparency and empowerment.
The empty promise
Going back to Williams’ quote, “Your brand is your promise…” Only those promises that are in fact fulfilled will foster a great and lasting brand. Therefore, those unfulfilled promises create a brand, and it’s not a good one, nor is it future-proof. A brand doesn’t get a whole lot of opportunity for do-overs with their customers or employees. The three parts of the brand, who you are, who you want to be and how people perceive you, have to all be aligned in order for those promises to come to fruition. An empty promise is an empty brand.
The brand ambassadors
According to the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer Survey of over 30,000 people, regular rank-and-file company employees have more credibility than executives. For organizations that haven’t yet become employee-centric, that’s a scary prospect, but for those who have, this is a major competitive opportunity.
We’ve already established that properly motivated employees can yield higher productivity, but they can also be made into trusted brand ambassadors.
“By turning employees into trusted brand ambassadors, companies bring their strongest asset and their most vocal internal advocates in direct contact with their customer base… It is very visible when the company has passionate employees who love the brand they work for. Having an adoring employee base isn’t just great for word-of-mouth marketing, but for the bottom-line as well.”
-Leadership and Business Culture Expert, Ekaterina Walter
Employees are your most trusted source for customers, they’re the people who your customers directly interact with, and they’re the ones who establish a connection with your customers. It is vital that organizations realize that these are the people with whom the future of their brand lies. Get employees motivated to participate in brand advocacy, because their buy-in is the one that matters most.