Many companies, under pressure to get to market and generate revenue, will try to develop a new corporate or product brand as quickly as possible so they can begin to build brand awareness in the marketplace. This effort is typically spearheaded by an individual or small group of people, usually in the marketing department, working in conjunction with some C-level position. This outward focus is understandable, but as a result, little or no time is afforded to introducing the new brand to other departments within the organization. What little time is allocated is often limited to a show and tell, featuring the new logo, tagline and perhaps a few examples of a brochure or ad using the new brand design as opposed to giving employees a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the brand and the thinking that went into it.
This makes no sense. Think about it for a second. Promoting a brand without first educating every member of the organization about it is like creating a football team by putting people in uniforms, giving them a cute mascot, and sending them out to play. They may look great trotting out on the field, but they won’t win many games. Teams that win year after year get their players to embrace the same philosophy, understand what they are trying to do as a team, and get everyone to work as one to accomplish those goals. And by the way, this kind of approach usually builds a rabid and loyal fan base.
In no other aspect of the business would a company think of having an employee perform a function without training them first. And yet, companies routinely fail to adequately educate their personnel about their brand, even though it is the foundation upon which everything is built. After all, a company or product brand is, in essence, a promise to its customers. Every touchpoint that an individual from a company has with a customer helps to communicate the brand, whether it’s from the CEO, or a salesperson, repair technician, or delivery person. How can employees be expected to effectively and consistently communicate what customers can expect from a company and its products and services if they haven’t been trained to do so? And while it’s true that marketing departments rely heavily on the brand, branding is much more than the sum of materials they generate. Despite a marketing department’s best efforts, the failure to educate all employees can impinge a company’s future marketing efforts.
Educating all personnel also has a beneficial byproduct: In the workplace, attitudes — both good and bad — are contagious. If people have embraced the brand promise and are motivated to fulfill it, their actions can serve to influence the attitude of fellow workers or new hires and create a positive, productive culture within the organization.