Branding is all about making and keeping a promise. As a brand builder, you’re the one who makes the promise, but who keeps it? Is it your product? Service? Well if so, then who is it that stands behind your products and services? It’s your employees and partners like distributors who keep the promise.
Brand delivery boils down to people, and if they don’t understand the brand, they’re likely to struggle to try to keep that promise. Employees have to believe in the brand and live it every time they come in contact with a customer.
There are two parts to this. First, you have to train your team. And then, you need to consistently reinforce it. Otherwise, people stop believing that the brand is important.
When you develop training programs about the brand, you should consider developing different programs for different types of employees. Front line employees, for example, deal with customers every day. The training program for them will be much different than for people back at headquarters including your senior executives.
Employees need to know: the brand promise, how it links to the company’s values, what customers will experience when they encounter the brand, the brand identity including look and feel, name, and persona.
Most importantly, they need to know how they should think, feel, and act. What words come out of their mouths? What actions do they take to deliver the promise? You have to help them make that bridge from the brand promise to their actions or they won’t be able to truly live the brand.
Most companies appoint a brand champion and a team of brand ambassadors. These are the influential company employees who represent what the brand stands for. They can help others understand how their words and deeds link to the brand and its drivers.
Many companies focus on hiring the right people from the very start. Given the brand, what characteristics of a potential employee would best align with the brand? Your human resources partner may be able to help you with that.
Perhaps the best way to reinforce the brand internally is to do a great job delivering on the promise externally. When employees see that the company consistently lives up to its promises, even in tough times, it strengthens their resolve and commitment to the brand.
Once you’ve communicated the brand to your employees, it’s time to go externally to the market. That’s next.