D. Mark Schurmann had an interesting article in the November-December issue of Communications World, “The Ties Thank Bind.”
The article talks about the brand being a company’s DNA but that in order for customers to understand the DNA of the company, the DNA must be alive and well among the company’s employees.
A sense of pride is essential to a strong brand’s appeal and no where is that sense of pride exemplified more than by the customer-facing employees. I’ve always thought it’s important to ensure employees are on the same page as you enter the holiday season since your employees are telling their friends and family who they work for, what they do and either exemplify a sense of pride in their employer or not.
Bernard Hodes Group studied 500 companies in 14 countries. Sixty-four percent had formal employee branding programs in place while 24% were planning to initiate an employee branding program in the next five years. It would be interesting to know the size of these companies since I’ve seen few mid and small-sized companies with employee branding programs.
According to James D. Lynch, vice president of communications at American Express, “Brands need to create a lighthouse identity — they need to stand for something and show those values at every turn, every opportunity. Brands need to articulate what they stand for in such a way that guides and serves customers.”
A powerful brand will also help recruit the right employees. People want to work for a firm that shares their values rather than one that is in conflict with their values.
The line between the internal and external brand has been erased and, today, the consumer owns the brand. They define the meaning of the brand. Employees perpetuate the brand by their actions every day. Customers need to hear how employees present the brand and employees need to hear how customers experience the brand.
Does your brand express what the company contributes to the larger world?
Does your brand clearly describe or represent the company’s mission?
Does your brand portray your company’s values?
Does your brand hold leaders accountable?
Does your brand start a positive conversation?