This one is longer than normal…but worth every bit of the read. Please let us know your thoughts!
Companies fail and miss the mark on being excellent when the belief within the company is that branding is solely a marketing function. Everyone, and I mean everyone, from the CEO to the assembly line employees should be communicating the brand in all that they do…If they aren’t, you should just take the money you’re spending on paychecks and burn it – You’re wasting it anyway!
Business partners, board members and shareholders should know your company brand inside and out and should be given the tools for communicating your brand story. Anyone who encounters your company and employees, regardless of position, has a powerful impact on the corporate brand value.
Jeff Bezos has said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Everyone who interacts with your employees, product or service now owns your brand message and they are sharing it with the world. Do you know how others are interacting with your brand?
Do they know?
If your employees haven’t heard the word ‘brand’ mentioned in your weekly meetings, you are failing. Plain and simple. How will people know how to share your story, vision, mission without knowing what it is?
CEO – If brand isn’t a word you use in your meetings, you are failing.
1. Can every employee articulate your company brand?
2. Are you building the personal brand of each employee?
3. Does everyone know what the brand means for them personally? (Hint: It should act as a filter for all that they do…how they communicate with one another, how they network, email, share the company mission and vision and so on…brand drives everything). This is was inspired the millennial – a purpose, mission and brand they can get behind and believe in.
How does this happen?
How can you make this happen? By intentionally educating, engaging and transforming all team members into brand ambassadors. They must know and hold themselves accountable to the idea that they all have a stake in delivering on the brand promise.
Why does that matter?
Customers will pay a premium for brands they love. They will be more loyal.
Two things MUST happen for success in any company.
1. Corporate brand awareness throughout the entire company, organization, association.
2. Personal brand awareness within each employee.
Without the above, you have people who ‘work’ but don’t build – robots can work, those that know and buy into the brand they work for are the ones who build the company and others within. You have people who are not invested in work, not building others and most likely a siloed structure.
This is why disaster happens when leaders leave a company, and the brand/mission/vison are not communicated or have any buy-in from senior leaders. The top leaders leave and they take the heart and brand with them…If the new leadership group, or current leadership group, are left not knowing what brand is, the company eventually implodes. Unhappy employees, power struggle, no common goal and disaster.
Corporate Brand Awareness. If the marketing department is only communicating with your clients/partners and not your staff, you’ve got a serious problem. Going over the mission statement during onboarding is hardly enough. If you’re people can’t tell you the mission statement – and what it really means – you’ve failed. It is the WHY of why they should come to work each day…it should be what inspires them.
• Internal and external communications—from weekly leadership meetings to the annual meeting—it is vital to reinforce what the company stands for and what makes it different from competitors and what makes it relevant – they WHY it exists.
• Leaders also need to walk the talk. If your company stands for integrity, but you allow your top leadership to gossip, promote people when you know you shouldn’t and enable bad behavior because you think they do a good job – your brand, and company, are based on a lie.
Or, you say your brand is founded in innovation, but you push back suggestions from staff on the ground floor, your brand is based on a lie.
Personal Brand Awareness. Time and time again we see the incredible gift from employees who have been through personal branding exercises. They know their personal ‘why,’ and have had the opportunity to uncover what makes them unique and valuable. They want to give their all to life and to the companies they work for. They know that what they do has purpose while using their God given gifts. Knowing your own value is liberating and allows each employee to give their best whether they are answering phones, building the products or leading the teams.
• Every employee should be perceived as a brand ambassador with thousands of opportunities to talk about the company – the companies who are winning have employees who are emotionally connected to the brand and are able to see its future. From the custodian to the C-Suite – everyone has an enormous impact.
Success happens when employees:
- Know their unique value and brand attributes
- Know what makes their company so special, understand its legacy and feel invested in it
- Know their value, feel open to share their gifts/talents and can support and build the company brand
- Believe that the company brand complements their own personal values (This is why brand questions in interviews are vital!)
The result is a company that is strong, a team that is united and has purpose, authentic relationships and a knowing that each employee is growing individually as well as adding value to the corporate growth.
MODA Image and Brand Consulting is the premier company in the US providing leadership training, brand consulting, personal brand coaching, employee brand training and image and fashion integration into your professional, professional and company brand. We serve Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, personal service firms, executives, universities and associations across the United States. We do this through training sessions, seminars, keynotes, events and one-on-one brand coaching services.
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