At one of the world’s leading heavy equipment manufacturers, the joke is that employees are so passionate about what they do, they bleed the company’s signature yellow color. A few have stayed on for nearly six decades so they can go down in history as having the longest tenure. That’s commitment.
Employees are your company’s number one brand ambassadors. When they love your product or service, they talk endlessly about it. Conversely, when they’re unhappy about a process or procedure, they’ll talk endlessly about that, too. Spending at least 40 hours every week at your facilities, employees are important stakeholders and, unfortunately, they’re the ones usually left out when it comes to branding.
When you rebrand your company or product, how do you get your employees to talk about the right things?
Marketing can deliver the ‘wow factors’ to employees. You can do this by creating an internal marketing plan that communicates relevant and helpful information. Employees appreciate honesty, and they like to be in the loop. You can:
- Mitigate anxiety around corporate-wide changes
- Capture and publish real-life examples of the new branding in practice
- Train all employees on the new branding in an enjoyable way
- Recruit and capitalize on an internal brand advocate community
This is important because when your employees are able to convey what your brand is all about, you’ve unleashed a brand ambassador army out into the world.
Extraordinary Performance Awards
Campbell Soups celebrates its employees’ achievements throughout the year, but its premier event is the Extraordinary Performance Awards. During an annual gathering, the company recognizes teams from all over the world for major projects that line up to the company’s strategies.
An area of extreme success is sustainability and community involvement. One team won an award for ‘greening’ the commercial shoot sets where the company actually films. The set was green in terms of all recycled content, carpooling the talent back and forth, and minimizing the carbon footprint. [source]
When your branding is communicated internally, you'll gain or retain genuine, loyal brand ambassadors. Your employees are consumers, too, so they know what it’s like to have an opinion and make decisions.
They’re on the frontlines. The product should always be the focus in marketing, but its delivery of the message is crucial. Employees have contact every day with customers through sales, customer service and after care. Marketing tactics aren’t communicated only through print, electronic or multimedia. Investing in employee knowledge pays off.
If you sell the message to them, they’ll sell it for you. You have to convert your employees before you can expect to win over customers. Holding dedicated workshops or ‘branding’ sessions that educate employees on your brand, the service or the rationale behind a change is a great first step.
Employees can always sniff out the B.S. Answer questions, be responsive and provide employees with all the right tools. Addressing concerns head-on shows commitment.
You can incorporate your brand education into every department – from new employee training to on-going employee development activities. Remember, this isn’t a ploy. Educating your employees on your brand, and providing clear and honest communications gives them ownership.
A successful internal branding program will make sure that every employee counts. And maybe they’ll even ink your brand, too.