We all hear about goodness coming from within, and that’s the same with great brands. Companies are made up of people: some lots, some not so many, and more often than not those people are dealing with customers, clients and suppliers. Great brands are built from awesome people.
When we meet new clients, we usually go in with one opinion formed from what we know at that point, which is usually based on touchpoints such as their website or some marketing collateral we’ve seen. But once we meet the people behind that business, that opinion always changes – and usually for the better. This makes us want to work with them and we end up building up wonderful relationships with people. Through our Brand thinking™ process we get to know more of the people behind the organisation, from the top to the bottom. We learn about what they love about the company, what frustrates them and how they live the brand on a day-to-day basis.
The more we do this the more we see the real value in making sure the people in your company live, breathe and are the brand. From the moment your customers speak to one of your staff members on the phone they are forming an opinion of the brand and building an emotional feeling towards your business. Making sure your staff are on the same page as the brand will make this process a lot smoother.
However, it can be dangerous to impose a brand ethos on your team, especially if it’s not who they are or not what they believe in. The comments from them to your clients excusing the colour palette or strapline will soon creep in and undermine everything you’ve worked so hard to build.
That’s why it’s essential to build your brand around the kind of people who work for it and the kind of customers you want to attract. It’s easier for smaller businesses that have a small team, which is why we see so many of them winning when it comes to genuine brand and social content. But all businesses can follow some simple guidelines to ensure their brand works from within:
First you really need to listen to your team and find out what makes them tick. Finding out what they’re proud of in the company and what they’re not so proud of is really important to finding a brand that will work for them. Maybe there are some brands that they really admire or aspire to.
Build a story
Your brand needs a story. This doesn’t have to be like a kids’ book, it’s important to have a clear message and ethos that everyone can believe in and get behind. It needs to be genuine so that people will believe in it.
Use the wealth of knowledge and personality from within the team to create brand heroes. All of your content doesn’t have to be authored by the CEO, it can be from other members of staff throughout the workplace hierarchy. Using your internal experts to show your expertise will not only empower your team, but it will make you look like a clever bunch. A website blog is a great place to do this.
The power of attraction
Showing what kind of people and company you are helps the business to grow in the right direction, with the right people. Communicating the kind of internal culture you have can show prospective employees and clients what it would be like to work with you. This may be a turn-off to some people, but they’re not your target market. You need be genuine though, otherwise people may be disappointed.
The big reveal
A big brand reveal is a great way to excite and enthuse your team. Communicating the outcomes of everyone’s efforts to the team you can give a big injection of inspiration. Showing how it will help them and how it represents them will win them over. Using fun visual aspects of the brand internally can keep the inspiration going.
Know the limits
You need to know when to push back. It’s great to get the whole team involved in the process, but you must not lose focus of what the business is and who its target market is. Some decisions need to be decisive and not by committee.