What if every employee in your company made it their business to deliver on your brand promises? This culture normally takes years to build. However, there is something that your marketing team can do now, by using assets you already have, to jump-start the process.
This article will discuss how you can increase brand equity and credibility by treating fellow employees as if they were one of your target audiences. The financial upside is huge, but marketing can’t do it alone. It requires support from management at all levels.
There is no doubt that brand credibility adds significant value to a business. The more your employees are in sync with your brand promise, the higher your brand credibility will be. This is because people know they can believe in what you say.
When people become accustomed to trusting your brand, marketing will have greater impact because it will land on trusting ears. Over time, this effect is exponential, and can be a game changer.
What We Can Do
Of course, marketing can’t be solely responsible for the commitment level of your employees. However, there are simple things that we as communicators can do to move things in the right direction.
What if we shared new initiatives with employees before they launched, along with the marketing intelligence driving it? I’ve been part of that process and have heard the genuine appreciation of employees for being shown this respect.
On the other hand, I have seen what it’s like when employees hear about a new campaign from their customers and have no clue themselves. They can’t help but feel disconnected and maybe a little embarrassed. The more we bring our co-workers into our world, and share our customer facing materials and intelligence, the more they’ll feel like part of the team with a shared mission.
If you are asking: “who has time for that,” I understand. I believe though, that keeping your internal audience connected with what the outside audience is seeing, provides a payback over time via better results that actually makes everyone’s job easier.
Isn’t that what leading brands strive for by spending millions of dollars training their employees to be engaged? In fact, Disney does it so well that they sell their insights to other companies via the Disney Institute.
Like any worthwhile endeavor, there are certainly challenges. Everyone already has a job, and most would say they are overtaxed. Marketing staffs are thin, deadlines are aggressive, and there are goals to meet. Other departments have their own fires to put out and may not be enthused about giving any attention to marketing.
That’s our challenge as communicators. Be engaging, concise, and consistent. Draw a line between supporting the brand promise and their own personal success. Show them what’s in it for them.
On top of that, internal brand alignment may not be a key metric by which anyone is measured. Then there’s the fact that employee engagement is typically managed by HR, and it’s easy to muddle that with internal brand alignment. In some companies, this effort may need to be dovetailed with HR driven employee engagement programs.
Since all departments in a company are part of one unified customer journey and experience, marketing should be in partnership and coordinated with each one. As we educate our employees with the marketing intelligence that drives our messaging, we’ll be aligning with them as key stakeholders, showing them that their role matters in the marketing equation. They in fact deliver on the promises that marketing makes.
Some of you may recall the story of President Kennedy touring a NASA facility in 1961 and seeing a custodian mopping the floors. The President asked the person why he was working so late, and according to the story, the man responded: “Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
That’s the kind of commitment I’m talking about. It’s knowing deep down in your bones how what you do in the company is critical to delivering the big picture.
In most cases, we as marketers could do a better job of communicating to our internal audience. For me, this starts with the belief that most people want to be proud of the company they work for and see it succeed. When marketing brings them into the fold, we have a better chance that they’ll feel like “insiders” and become a positive influence, rather than feeling left out.
As you get more employees on board, critical mass will naturally reduce the “naysayer” influence. Take advantage of the opportunity to help your hundreds or thousands of employees to embody your brand promise. Greater competitive advantage awaits those that do.
Don’t worry, you’ll get there…it just takes some thought, planning and perhaps an experienced partner to help jump-start the process.