As a long time media planner and a founder of an advertising agency, I have spent my career helping companies build their brands from the ground up. From identity packages to advertising campaigns to digital marketing strategies, companies want to ensure that every point the consumer comes into contact with is consistent and reflects the value of the premium brand they have built. However, there is one touch point companies often overlook that can destroy the decades of brand equity they have built in minutes: consumer relations.
Every aspect of an advertising campaign is designed to drive business, whether it is by capturing new customers or retainer current customers. Every brand message is meant to communicate the values of a company and how these values translate to tangible benefits for the customer. When these messages are successful, consumers approach the company to secure the quality service or product they have been promised. But what happens when they are met with a company representative that contradicts the image that has been constructed through continual messaging? The money invested to draw in the customer is lost, along with future possibilities to build a relationship with that customer.
The largest factor in perceived value of a relationship often has nothing to do with the product a consumer purchases. Instead, consumers base their perception of value on the quality of interaction they experience with the company. Consumers are not blind to the fact that advertising and marketing is self-promotion: live contact is one of the most important ways consumers gauge whether your company can live up to the claims it has made, especially if your business is in a service industry.
The obvious solution is to simply live up to the image you have created for your company. However, this if often easier said than done. To guarantee complete consistency in customer relations would require micro-managing staff members on a daily basis, which is cost ineffective and can result in internal backlash. The solution? An internal marketing strategy. Although that may sound strange, employee brand adoption programs are the best way to ensure that members of your organization not only recognize your brand values, but accept them and strive to incorporate them into their daily interactions.
Your job is not only to make sure that your customers love your company, but that your staff members do as well. Finding ways to create brand loyal employees results in fiercely more productive employees, higher company morale, and most importantly, fiercely loyal brand ambassadors that want your customers to love your products as much as you do.
A brand is a promise to customers that they will receive a certain level of value, quality or service when they interact with your company. This promise is what differentiates your company from its competitors, and what makes you invaluable in the minds of your customer. Building your brand internally is key to fulfilling the brand promise on a consistent basis. External messages must be reinforced by your customer’s experience, and your staff is responsible for delivering this experience.
The first step to fulfilling your brand promise is to align staff behavior with the promise. This means syncing brand personalities, values and corporate culture. Familiarizing employees with your brand promise and external marketing strategies communicates the external brand image and helps them understand what consumers expect from their interactions with the company.
Once your staff has been briefed, work with your Human Resources department or directly with your employees to outline what types of behavior are necessary to deliver the desired experience. Engage your staff in determining these behaviors. When you encourage input, employees will feel that their opinions are valued and will become invested in your internal branding program; after all, they helped develop it.
After you have converted your brand promise into brand behaviors, implement training and development programs and rewards programs to reinforce the adoption of brand behaviors. Internal branding programs, just like external programs, require a strategy for reinforcement. Outline a plan for internal communications in terms of content, frequency and distribution method. Newsletters, meetings, workshops, presentations and information packets can all act as tools for reminding employees of ways to incorporate brand values into their everyday interactions.
The last step to an internal branding program is to monitor its progress. Asking your staff for feedback and suggestions is a great way to keep them involved and gauge the level of employee adoption. Also, survey your customer base at various stages throughout your internal branding program to determine their awareness of brand values and satisfaction with company interactions.
The strength of your internal branding program is a vital asset to your external communications strategy. Companies that succeed in engaging employees with their brand succeed in creating a brand culture that is reflected at every consumer touch point. The result is an experience that meets or exceeds the expectations of your customers and reinforced the value of your brand.
The National Association for Career Women (NACW) recently invited Coleen King to address their members on her journey of building a business from the ground up. She discussed her career and how it led to the founding of King Media, as well as the capabilities of the full service marketing, advertising and public relations agency. Coleen was welcomed with open arms by all of the NACW members and guests, and they were very receptive to her story and the advice that followed. Overall, it was an incredible opportunity to reach out to other business women and be introduced to a successful national organization.
The National Association of Career Women is a not for profit organization that was established in 1980 in Lansing, MI. Its mission is to promote personal and professional development for women through informative, motivational meetings and programs. Topics vary each month and are designed to meet the needs of women in business. Past meetings have included How Social Networks Can Drive Your Business, Health and Wellness, and Understanding Body Language. The NACW is open to women of all ages, race and professions and meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 11:45 am – 1:15 pm. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured speakers such as those like Coleen King with King Media are valuable to our members seeking cutting edge information about such topics as How to Market Your Business During Tough Economic Times. Coleen addressed a timely issue that is impacting all of us and spoke from the heart about how to stay successful in a tough environment. Coleen is known throughout the Lansing area for being a successful business woman who uses a fresh approach to marketing and advertising for businesses, large and small. Coleen joined the ranks of outstanding speakers who have had the privilege of presenting to the NACW. Other notable speakers include Jane Aldrich, Paula Blanchard Stone and Representative Joan Bauer.
Kent Record Management is no newcomer to the Records Management business. As the first commercial record center in West Michigan, we have gained more than 25 years of experience and maintain a client base that encompasses over 2000 organizations. KRM’s success stems from our commitment to providing our clients with superior service and dedication to continued innovation at all three of our Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing locations.
At KRM we pride ourselves on setting the industry standard for technological advancement. With services including hard copy storage and management, document imaging, and deconstruction, KRM is constantly striving to raise the bar. Our continued development and attention to our clients needs has contributed to our reputation for excellent customer service, and it is something we work tirelessly to maintain.
That’s why when Kent Record Management needed a fresh face and improved collateral material, we turned to King Media. King Media holds themselves to the same premium standards our organization is based on. Their positive attitude and attention to detail has provided a wonderful working relationship and resulted in the successful re-branding of KRM. King Media providing KRM with a winning brochure, presentation folder and is a continuing provider of corporate collateral.
In addition, King Media developed an effective logo and branding for Kent Imaging, Inc, a division of KRM. Through working with King Media, Kent Record Management has gained a great partner who is responsive to our ever-changing needs. We look forward to continuing to build on our positive relationship for many years to come.
Missy Boersma - President of Kent Imaging; Director of Sales for Kent Records
Q: What are some ways that I can build my employees’ brand loyalty to my company?
A: The key word here is ‘employee’. The fundamentals are the same as when dealing with a client, only in this case, you are focusing on your employees. Show them that they are valuable to your company by asking for their opinions and feedback and acknowledging their ideas.
Internal brand loyalty is also highly dependent on your ability to represent your brand from the inside out. In order for your employees to be successful ambassadors of your brand, they must understand it. Therefore, it is important to apply your brand to each and every representative within your company.
As the face of your company, your employees work directly with your clients. By providing them with a positive work experience and a thorough understanding of your brand, they will not only have their own experiences to share, they will promote your brand willingly and loyally.
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