You’ve been here a while – your company has an established brand. Or does it?
Twenty-three percent of U.S. employees strongly agree they can apply their organization’s values to their work every day, according to Gallup, and only 27% strongly agree that they “believe in” their organization’s values. Sixty-one percent of new employees receive no education on the company’s mission, values or culture, according to TalentLMS. Leave it to your teams to interpret your brand and how you want it communicated – failure is near.
Whether in-person with clients or colleagues, via email, phone or video chat, employees serve as brand ambassadors. With all the new companies and people moving to town, how are you ensuring your brand is seen and strengthened? Resting on old brand strength laurels is a bad strategy — personally or companywide.
Do your teams and employees communicate through your brand values filter, or make it up as they go? Now more than ever, your teams need to know how to build and share their personal brands as well as the company brand. Brand promotion can and should become a part of your culture. Why? It is the only differentiator between you and perceived competition.
Don’t underestimate the power of the ‘why’
Never underestimate the power of explaining the “why” to your teams. Paint a picture of why your company has its core values by showing them they aren’t just words on a wall or in a training manual that has dust on it. Explain why your leadership believes in a certain decision -and watch the magnetizing effect it has as employees feel invested in the company. Then watch them tell others about you – with the right stories and messages you help to provide.
Brand training (personal and company): Building a solid brand through sharing stories on social, sharing company stories and giving teams the ability to keep learning how to is the key. If you have a great company and treat your employees like they are truly part of the team, then they will also love your company and branding efforts. The more you take care of your team members, the more likely they will speak highly of the brand and what it has to offer. This is called buy-in. You must have it before anyone demonstrates brand authentically.
You are always branding: Every week, month or so, you can discuss how team members have lived one of your core value (or seen someone else exemplifying it). Send it in a newsletter, via email — or best yet, have your leadership team do a quick video. (They are less expensive and easier than you may think.)
Share a one-page “cheat sheet”: Create a one-page “cheat sheet” with the company core value, slogans, even an elevator pitch about the value the company provides. You never “sell,” but you share value in all interactions by weaving in stories in-person and online.
Draft social media content – create a toolbox they can share from: We constantly hear this from employee: “I don’t know what to post on LinkedIn.” Help your people build their personal brand as well as share the company brand on social media. Draft copy into a toolbox that team members can use to share on their personal LinkedIn.
Your customers want to connect with brands through social media too. A recent report by Sprout Social found consumers rank social media as the No. 1 way to connect with them. The report also found that when customers feel connected to brands, 57% will increase their spending, and 76% will continue to buy from them rather than buying from a competitor.
If you, and your leadership, aren’t utilizing social media (more than just throwing up posts hoping they will work), you are dead in the water.
Ensure team members are authentic: Employees are the brand. It takes training, but reading from a script is always robotic. When your employees know their own brand and how it fits into the company brand, it turns into individualized conversations with customers that are more authentic while also representing brand values. To do that, first make sure that everyone is well-versed in the company messaging and talking points. Then you encourage them to use their personal voice to bring the message to life. Don’t read from a script; don’t sound robotic – don’t simply check a box. Zero brand loyalty happens from bland communication.
Share the brand’s image and values: If one of your brand values is excellence, showing up to the call or meeting being physically, mentally and emotionally prepared is one example. Or if your core value is caring, authentic, genuine – that means you must ensure that every client, member and associate knows that they are important. A visible example of that means providing a quick response (same day if possible), even if it is to say they are working on it.
Without a solid personal brand and strategy for sharing it, you will lose even if you have more experience and are better. Nobody is born knowing how to build brand – equip your teams and start winning for 2025 and beyond. Brand is all that matters.
Mila Grigg is CEO of Moda Image and Brand Consulting.