Principle 10-Part 2: Branding from the Inside Out

Book Discussion:
Sticky Branding by Jeremy Miller

Let’s continue our adventure about “Branding from the Inside Out” and see how values influence your team members or employees. If you missed Part 1 about how to find your company’s values, just go back and read up on it.

Have you ever talked with a customer service rep and you knew from the start they couldn’t have cared less about you and your problem? And on another occasion, have you spoken with one who gave you the feeling of understanding and caring, was really nice and patient, and, yes, solved your problem? Of course, you did. That’s what the next sentence means: “A happy employee brings your brand to life.” (page 155) It doesn’t matter if you have one or one hundred employees, each one of them represents your company and your brand. Each one plays an integral part in the way your company is perceived and thus in your company’s success.

Miller writes, and I feel it’s a no-brainer, that how you treat your team members or employees impacts how they will perform. How do you interact with each other, how do you make decisions, how much freedom does everyone have, how much do you care and show empathy, and much more… Happy employees make happy colleagues which in turn leads to happy customers.

Creating a supportive environment and culture take effort and nurturing.

Based on my own experience, communication is one of the most important building blocks. As simple as it may sound, its impact is often underestimated. Conversations are not created equal. Some are fun and easy, but others can be difficult. Especially difficult conversations take trust and openness to be successful for everyone involved. But that’s a topic for another time. Staying connected and being part of the team is important, especially in times like now. What can you do or what can your team do to stay connected? Here are a couple of suggestions that, thanks to today’s technology, help us. Have a “daily team huddle to catch up and discuss projects” (page 156). Have a virtual coffee break with your colleague to discuss a problem or bounce off some ideas. Meet for a beer, glass of wine, or, if you prefer non-alcoholic beverages, some juice on Friday and end the week on a fun note. If you can, take a walk together and talk. It is (always) the little things that make the (big) difference. They show that you care about your colleagues, team members, or employees and consider them valuable and your greatest asset.

Your caring is the building block for their commitment and attitude. Didn’t I say happy employees make for happy customers? Each and every team member, colleague, or employee is an ambassador of your company and brand. Miller writes: “Your people shape your brand.” (page 159) They can be your greatest differentiator when it comes to your competition. Competing on price is never a good marketing strategy and, in some cases, extremely difficult when we think about commodity products. So where do you gain leverage over your competition? By making sure your team or employees create the difference. After all, people buy from people. Emotions are involved.

Above I mentioned two versions of a customer interaction. Miller writes about one in his book. It’s about a company that sells truck parts. In celebration of their 40th anniversary the team came up with the idea of organizing a relay race over 200 miles to the company’s headquarters supporting their philosophy that having a healthy mind and a healthy body is important. Two things happened: “It (the relay race) invigorated the passion, respect, and camaraderie of the team” (page 159) through their collective training, and it mobilized locals to participate. That in return led to a major buzz in the communities along the relay race so that local newspapers, trade magazines and the local radio station featured it. “The more active your employees are in their community, the more relationships they will form.” (page 159) And as we’ve discussed in a previous chapter, people prefer to buy from people they know and trust.

To conclude Principle 10 “Branding from the Inside Out” let’s circle back to Part 1, my previous blog, and bring it together. Purpose, values, and company culture, are the backbone of every business big or small. They define who you are, how you deal with your people, team members, employees, and consequently with your customers. They set the tone in everything you do. The clearer you are about them, the more consciously you can use them to your advantage.

I hope this blog triggered your thinking about these more subtle Sticky Brand ingredients. What’s your company’s purpose? What are your values? What’s your company culture? And most importantly, how do you use them to your advantage?

Let me know in the comments below.

See you next week,
Regine

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