Listening to the Voice of Employees – How an Authentic Brand Promise is Shaped from Within
A brand promise gives consumers a reason to consider becoming a customer by promising to deliver a meaningful benefit. It’s important for marketers to carefully craft their brand promise, cultivate its growth, and monitor its success over time. Employees play a critical role in this process, as they are the heart and soul of a company’s brand. When your employees understand, believe, and demonstrate your brand promise, chances are your customers consistently experience it as well. Here are some ways to engage employees in both developing and delivering an authentic brand promise.
Brand Promises Grow from the Inside Out
Input from employees can help shape and refine your brand promise over time. The interactions they have with customers and other employees within the organization can reveal a great deal. Listening to employees’ stories about their interactions with customers can uncover inspiring examples of your brand promise in action. It may also identify areas where your brand promise is not being kept, which is information all brands need to know in order to improve and grow.
Get Employees in the Game – Do a Reality Check
Gathering feedback from Employee Experience (EX) research can help you ensure they remain fully engaged with their work and have the tools and resources needed to provide exceptional customer experiences. The aim is to identify opportunities to clarify your employees’ understanding of your brand promise and strengthen their commitment to bringing it to life with customers. It can also uncover opportunities to better educate your staff on their role as brand ambassadors. Consider focusing on EX topic areas like:
- Awareness and belief in your brand promise and purpose
- Level of engagement and commitment
- Satisfaction with their role, management, and employer
- Open communication and trust in leadership
In the end, giving your employees a voice lets them know they play an essential role and can help inspire them to deliver on your brand promise in new ways. It will also help you refine strategies to improve retention and attract new, high-quality job candidates.
Spread the Word
Educating employees on how their work impacts the customer experience of your brand promise is critical. It helps them see ways to act on your promise in their interactions with both customers and each other. Fostering employee engagement to demonstrate your brand promise can be accomplished in many ways.
For example, outdoor clothing and goods retailer Patagonia runs a program called, “Volunteer Your Skills for Action,” where the company emphasizes their goal to be “in business to save our home planet.” They inspire a call for action by stating, “We aim to use the resources we have – our voice, our business, and our community – to do something about our climate crisis.” Patagonia also gives customers the opportunity to join in via their Patagonia Action Works website, a hub connecting volunteers to serve important environmental issues. This accessible and intentional outreach serves as a real-world example of their brand promise and company values in action. Other innovative ways to engage employees include:
- A company ‘culture’ book – Explain your brand promise and set expectations for how employees can demonstrate it each day.
- Personal brand promise goals – Employees can be asked to set a brand promise goal tied to their role and the customers’ brand experience. These goals can then be incorporated into performance evaluations.
- Stories of ‘brand promises kept’ – Feature success stories in internal and external communications such as newsletters, intranet, company blog, website, etc.
- Brand vision video – Invite employees from different departments and experience/ management levels to share their hopes and aspirations for the company in short video clips.
- Employee appreciation events – Include contests/awards themed around your brand promise to recognize and thank employees for their dedication and personal initiative.
Employees Are a Brand’s Greatest Asset
Engaging employees in the development and delivery of your company’s brand promise is an important part of every organization’s strategy. They offer a wealth of knowledge that can be tapped into when developing and refining your brand promise direction. Gathering feedback on employee perceptions of your brand promise can help identify internal communication gaps that, if not quickly resolved, could negatively impact your customers’ experiences. However, the most important role employees play is in the way they bring your brand promise to life through their interactions with customers, either directly, or behind the scenes. Tapping into and maximizing the influence they have helps build the level of trust customers crave when establishing or renewing brand relationships. Companies that make it a priority to empower employees through internal brand promise communications see big dividends pay off in the form of higher retention levels and strengthened customer relationships.
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