Your Brand… and The People Who Make It Happen

your brand

Your brand is the single most important and compelling component of your business. It’s importance, and how to build a brand, must never be underestimated.

One thing we can all agree on in the 21st century is that a strong sense of branding is important. Your brand is what differentiates you from your competitors and makes you more appealing to fickle customers as they scroll through web search entries.

Your brand helps to build reputations worthy of your passion. But more than that, a brand makes a promise!

It tells your customers what they can (and should) expect from your company. It’s a seal of quality and a benchmark by which you invite your customers to measure you.

But what does your brand mean to you in real terms? Is it;

  • designed by a team of brilliant graphic designers?
  • the catchy slogan that sticks in the heads of prospects and ensures that yours is the name that sticks in their minds?
  • products that your customers have grown to love and which have earned you their loyalty?
  • your slickly designed website with great UX and a steady stream of content marketing to ensure that your brand’s voice is heard?

Sure, those things are all vital components of branding. But your brand isn’t something that’s seen, written, drawn or clicked upon. It’s something that’s lived!

your brand

Your brand is in every interaction your employees have with your customers. It’s in every follow-up to a telephone inquiry. Branding is in every email a customer receives and every instance of aftercare.

Your employees should be your brand. Your branding should inform their every action while under your roof. But how can you ensure that your employees consistently offer an experience that’s consistent with your brand?

Here are some ways in which you can ensure that your employees live, breathe, eat and sleep your brand…

 

It all starts with the recruitment phase

 

Remember when apparel giant Abercrombie and Fitch were brought to task over their discriminatory ‘look policy’?

The retailer (and its other international brands such as Hollister) was taken to task for its infamous penchant for exclusively employing young and attractive people who they felt best matched their brand.

your brand

It’s clear to see what’s wrong with employing people on the basis of physical attractiveness rather than competency.

However, there is value in considering your brand when you recruit new employees.

  • What sort of attributes does your brand value or even necessitate?
  • Does it value teamwork and camaraderie?
  • Is your emphasis on creative problem solving and independent thought?
  • Do you value outstanding organizational and time management skills?
  • How does your brand influence the job description and person specification?

While everyone wants to hire intelligent, competent and skilled candidates, think about how the nature of your brand influences what you’re looking for in the right candidates.

 

Orientation

 

Having chosen the right candidates, it’s up to you to ensure that they are on the same page as the rest of the organization from Day One.

Of course, this is done through the orientation process. In their previous positions, candidates may have got used to doing things a certain way. The orientation period is an opportunity to unlearn behaviour and learn how to do things your way.

That is to say in accordance with the values implicit in your brand. This means not only instructing them in what makes your products unique but also ensuring that their customer service ethic incorporates the elements that are essential in your brand.

your brand

Is there a specific phrase with which you expect employees to answer the phone? Perhaps there is a particular sign off or a specific approach when it comes to dealing with customers?

How can your employee orientation incorporate brand storytelling so that they can get a sense of your organization’s history and their place within it?

With effective orientation, your employees can hit the ground running not just in terms of their core competencies but in how their actions embody your brand.

 

Training: It ain’t a one and done!

 

Training is, or at least should be, an ongoing process. It should help your new employees to become consciously competent in their current role. Relevant training should motivate and inform employees while also ensuring that the values of your brand are upheld.

Thus, training can never be a singular exercise that is carried out to get employees up to speed with the needs and requirements of their position.

It should be a whetstone against which their skills are constantly sharpened to ensure that their remain motivated and that their skills should not be allowed to atrophy.

your brand

Ideally, employees should have access not only to job or industry specific training but to more generalized training through an outsourced provider like Arc Training. This will help them to realize their career goals through your organization, feeling that they have a home in your business in their current role and beyond.

Ongoing training allows employees to feel empowered. When they feel empowered they are more likely to rise to the challenges presented to them both individually and as a team.

Whatever virtues are implied in your branding, this can’t help but ensure that your standards are met.

 

Incentives, motivation and accountability

 

Do your employees know the specific standards and competencies that they have to meet to succeed within your organization? Do you?

When you have a clearly defined rubric for performance your employees have a means by which they can hold themselves to account.

It’s up to you to share a framework for success and empower employees with the infrastructure that they need to achieve it.

your brand

It’s also important, however, to ensure that employees are properly incentivized. Whether you offer performance related pay or not, offer bonus schemes which incentivize employees. This may demonstrate the qualities, aptitudes or even extracurricular tasks which will give your brand the boost it needs.

For example, some brands that have expansion in mind offer incentives to their employees to refer friends and family to their organization.

An initial payment is made when the new employee is recruited. A further payment is made when the new employee passes their probationary period.

your brand

How you plot out your incentives structure is up to you. However, it should have the core values of your brand woven into its very fabric.

When you know what your brand stands for, it’s that much easier to tailor the needs of your workforce accordingly!

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