No matter what business you are in, if you have employees and are not looking at them as an extension of your brand, then you are missing the boat. People who interact with your business see the face of your brand not just as a well light up sign, but in every experience they have with your staff. If this scares you at all, take the initiative right now to learn how to turn employees into your very own living brand ambassadors.
Your team must have a crystal clear understanding of what your brand is. The best way to do this is by actually creating a brand persona, which means you humanize your brand. Pretend your brand is a person and determine who they are: characteristics, aspirations, strengths, values, personality, and voice. Think of them as a representation of the most powerful role model for your brand you can imagine. Take actual people and businesses you know to guide your creation.
Make sure that all aspects of your business reflect and reinforce your brand persona. Share these insights at every turn with your team. Make them part of the fabric of your organization.
Determine what actions you can incorporate into your team’s job activities that fuel your customers’ experience with your brand. These should differentiate you from the competition. Chick-Fil-a wanted to make their fast-food experience a bit more classy and personal, so their staff closes every interaction with “It’s my pleasure.” Outline your expectations in detail, then train your staff accordingly. Manage to these expectations.
Incorporate a team meeting element where you discuss how their actions can embody your brand persona better. This encourages the team to think outside the box, but at the same time reinforce a group brand approach. What better place to engage your employees than here to start.
If you really want your employees to be an incredible reflection of your brand incentivize them at every turn to be true brand advocates. Use positive reinforcement to let them know they are the right path. Show them that if their actions support your brand persona you will make them even more part of the company.
This can be done by:
- Creating an award that recognizes those that meet particular criteria.
- Building in brand expectations into performance assessments.
- Setting up a peer-to-peer supported brand ambassadors group.
- Hiring and promoting those that naturally reflect your brand values.
Without goals to fuel grow both people and brands stagnate. Passion ignites from inspiration. Great brands inspire. If your team isn’t inspired around your mission, how can they find inspiration in their work that can then flow out to your customers?
Versioning to Brand 2.0 needs to be part of your mission. By making your staff an integral part of formulating what that looks like, you infuse their passion directly into your brand. There is nothing more powerful than this level of involvement in your journey to turn your employees into effective brand ambassadors. Connect the personal to the corporate.
What you are within your four-walls dictates not only how the market sees you but also how successful you will be over the long haul. You see if you are not authentic from the inside out your customers at some point figure it out. Once they do their trust evaporates along with your business. Make sure an aspect of your day-to-day operations focuses on establishing brand ambassadors to create an impenetrable brand culture.