|Education and Training|
Training employees to live your brand
A UK marketing study done by Price Waterhouse Coopers showed that less than a third of senior managers believe their companies' external values are matched by its internal values. This misalignment is creating a massive threat to brands and to their customer loyalty.
Companies spend millions on building a brand only to disable it by neglecting to communicate with their employees on what the brand stands for and how to deliver it to its customers.
Without ongoing brand integration, the promises made to customers are fundamentally not achievable. As we move into an experience driven market, bridging the divide between what a brand says and what a brand does is key to the protection of market share and
If communicating with employees is all it takes to gain the competitive edge, then why are so few companies getting it right? It is largely due to the silo mentality within company departments, management's resistance to change and a lack of know how in the basics of branding at the operational level. These shortcomings are universal and not peculiar to any one industry. However it is a sobering thought that brands that do get it right out perform their competition by a ratio of three to one.
Executive management have to start recognising that their people are their biggest brand asset and that employees deliver a performance everyday that shapes a brand either positively or negatively in the minds of the consumer.
There is a direct correlation between customer service and increased revenue. He quotes the figures as a one percent improvement in employee loyalty equals a two percent improvement in the bottom line. In a study done in 1994, it was established that companies that consistently focus on developing a strong corporate culture over a period of several decades out performed companies that didn't by a factor of six and out performed the general stock market by a factor of 15. And between 1999 and 2002, companies with highly engaged employees generated a staggering 200% higher three year returns to shareholders than low commitment companies.
Leadership alignment needs to take place in order for brand participation to filter down through the company to all levels. Processes need to be put in place with supporting systems and an employee focused culture needs to be developed, which has been summed up so well by Richard Branson. When asked who his customers are, he replied, “My staff."
The recipe for closing the brand gap is firstly based on a company's complete understanding of what its brand should mean to its target audience. Once this is established, a full independent brand audit needs to be conducted. This allows for benchmarking of the results of a customised brand behaviour improvement programme, which is inculcated into the culture of a company. For more immediate results, there are numerous experiential learning programmes available that are designed to synchronise human behaviour with institutional brand values based on what Ben Franklin once said: “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand."
One of the unusual training methods to instil brand appreciation is through the 'knockout' philosophy. The Scorpions are just one of many private and public organisations that have entered into a boxing ring under the eye of a professional trainer for a one day training session that starts the process of internal brand development. The physical activity reinforces behavioural change, which in turn has a positive impact on a brand.
A company's brand is nothing more than the promise made to its market and once all of its people are acting in accordance with that promise, the business will be in perfect alignment. Only then will it be possible to enjoy business leadership and an increased bottom line that comes with owning a powerful brand.
Terry Behan is the managing director of The Fearless Executive.