Branding from the Inside Out – the power of employee brand engagement
posted on 18th Dec 2018 by Deirdre O'Sullivan
Employee engagement is pivotal to building successful brands. But are brand owners barking up the wrong tree when it comes to executing engagement strategies? In the US alone, over a $100 billion is spent annually to boost employee engagement and yet only 14% of employees are actually actively engaged. The result of this is a staggering $550 billion in lost productivity. But it’s more than just lost productivity, it’s your company’s brand reputation that’s losing out too.
Branding is more than just a logo, it’s the DNA that runs through every touchpoint of the customer journey. And what most influences how customers think and feel about a brand is their interactions with it. That’s where the human element comes into play. Building your brand from the inside out will enable your staff to deliver meaningful on-brand experiences to your customers.
There’s a big difference between an employee who gets the job done and an employee who understands the DNA of the brand goes the extra mile to deliver what the brand promises. Behaviour is key. Every day, in every interaction, employees have a choice in terms of how they behave. It’s up to you to create a culture where behaviour consistently reflects your brand and its values.
Most companies don’t even consider their brand values and brand culture when it comes to employee engagement, yet understanding the brand and its purpose is pivotal if your staff are to deliver meaningful on-brand experiences for your customers. It’s about finding ways to inspire employees to become deeply involved in the brand so that they, in turn, will want to support and champion its growth.
Here are three ways to build better employee brand engagement:
1) Have a clear brand purpose
Brand purpose is becoming increasingly important to employees. A strong, clear purpose connects emotionally with employees. It engages them more deeply. To feel that you are doing something more profound than just providing a service or making a product is a powerful thing. It’s no longer about just doing a job – people want to make a difference. FedEx is a prime example of this. Its purpose is “to connect people and possibilities around the world”. It’s more than just a package. In the words of CMO Rajesh Subramaniam, “When we deliver medical supplies to Nepalese earthquake victims, we deliver hope. When we deliver a package during the holiday season, we deliver joy.” This compelling brand purpose is a powerful motivator for employee brand engagement.
2) Involve your staff
You can’t simply tell employees what to do. They need to be involved in the process. You need to empower them to develop their own ideas about how they can live the brand. Recently we facilitated an ideation workshop with a hospitality client. Each department, from Food & Beverage to Housekeeping used the brand values to generate lots of ideas to add value to the customer experience. It helped them to find practical ways to bring the brand values to life in their everyday jobs. Employees who feel involved will take personal responsibility – they know they can make a difference and it prompts them to do more.
3) Lead from the top down
Brand engagement starts at the top. You must get buy-in from the senior team first. One of the biggest challenges is aligning department heads. We all tend to work in silos, it’s human nature. We focus on our own departmental goals rather than the bigger picture. Getting heads of department and line managers to realise that they should all be pointed in the same direction can be a challenge. Employee brand engagement needs constant reinforcement from senior management. They need to continually devise ways to recognise, rear and incentivise employees to live the brand. Efforts should be shouted about and shared through internal comms channels to share the stories and reinforce how your brand translates into the day-to-day roles of the staff.
Building a brand from the inside out takes time, but the rewards can be huge. Engaged employees will create tangible returns for your business. You will create loyal advocates who will recommend your products and services. You will reduce your staff turn over. You will increase levels of customer engagement. And this will ultimately boost revenue and return.
Deirdre O’Sullivan – HR Manager
Dee has been part of the Neworld family for nearly 25 years, having worked in many roles in the company she has been our HR Manager for the past 10 years and this is her favourite role so far. Dee believes our “USP” is our wonderful, talented staff and it is her job to keep them happy. Our ethos is “great relationships build great brands” and we strive to have great relationships with all members of our staff and this comes across to our clients.
Anita Kerr – Senior Brand Strategist
A native of Norn Iron but now a proud Greystonian, Anita is a brand thinker and brand storyteller. She loves nothing better than sticking her head under the bonnet of a brand to find out what makes it tick. An avid wordsmith, Anita also works closely with clients to articulate their message through brand language and tone of voice.