Building Brand Reputation from the Inside Out
It’s not the marketing department alone that positions your brand. Employees at all levels across the company impact how the brand promise is delivered -- to customers, as well as to other important stakeholders who can impact the success of your organization. As the bridge between business strategy and brand delivery, employees play a starring role in how others perceive the company. They’re the face of the brand, and to a great extent, your brand reputation lies in their hands.
Internal branding is the new imperative for organizations that value an engaged, energized, customer-focused workforce. According to Kevin Sheridan, engagement expert and author of Building a Magnetic Culture, “The more engaged employees you have on your team the more satisfied customers you will have, as well.” When employees understand how they (as individuals) make a difference for customers by truly living into the brand, they’re well equipped to deliver on business strategy and strengthen corporate reputation.
A collectively functioning workforce, where the brand promise is delivered consistently and authentically through each and every touchpoint, provides a sustainable competitive advantage for any business in today’s marketplace. When employees behave in alignment with brand purpose and values, they reinforce the reasons customers trust the company. And nothing matters more today than an organization’s ability to build and maintain trust with its stakeholders. As Jonathan R. Copulsky states in his book, Brand Resilience, “The rise in importance of brand trust means that any breach of our faith in a brand can be fatal to the relationship.”
Organizations that want to build stronger brand trust and improve their reputation from the inside out should ask themselves these questions to get started:
· Do our employees reinforce our brand attributes? Do they attract positive attention to the brand? What’s their narrative about the company?
· How well do our employees understand the brand? Do they know what our target customers value? Do they have access to insights and trends that would strengthen their line of sight to customer expectations?
· Do our employees understand our customer value proposition? Can they explain our business to a layperson? What do they say about the brand externally?
· Do our employees know how to communicate in brand voice? Do they understand how their individual jobs contribute to the brand purpose?