This may sound like an oddly worded question, “Who is your brand,” but “what” impacts your brand is largely “who” represents your brand. Each and every representative of your company in some way contributes to the formation and consumer impression of your brand. From the first person a customer meets when they come through the door, to the salesperson who serves them, to the janitor they saw working in the store, to the landscaper in the parking lot, to manager who they ran into shopping at the grocery store. Each of the people in your organization help to shape your brand and define the type of company you are—your brand image.
This is true in retail, but equally true for events and non-profit organizations. How your members, your volunteers, your organizers conduct themselves is all part of your brand. Your image in every setting, in every medium of contact (in-person and on-line) affects and defines your brand. If you want to be perceived as professional, offering quality services or products, then every person in your organization must portray that same level professionalism and help to develop a consistent brand image. Your brand may very well be perceived as to its professionalism and quality based on your “weakest” representative.
…And your brand image is not just formed in the “business” setting. This means what your employees and organization’s representatives do on their personal time may very well reflect on your brand. What they may post on personal Facebook pages or even the way your employees conduct themselves outside of work, can and will impact your brand image.
Tips to consider for transforming employees into brand ambassadors:
- Engagement of Employees: Engaged employees who feel supported and who understand the vision, mission, and objectives of a company are more likely to be stronger representatives of brand. Help employees become part of the team and embrace that vision, mission, and objective, even have input.
- Connect the Personal with the Corporate: Employees are social networkers; thus, through training and policy development, employees can learn about expectations and how their actions impact their place of employment. Also, management can capitalize on outstanding employee traits and work to create an environment where personal brands compliment the corporate brand, not compete with it.
- Recognize that Employees are Marketers of your Company: Employees become your brand ambassadors, so management who helps them to be better ambassadors can shape the image of the brand. It is important to recognize that consistency should be the aim, not conformity. As stated by many top executives, “a consistent brand does not emerge from conformist employees.”
- Develop Positive Emotional Employee Attachment: Remember that “happy employees make happy customers;” therefore, the culture of an organization is critical to organizational success and branding. An employee’s positive emotional attachment to the organization needs to attended to continually.
In summary, recognize that all employees are marketers of your company and you should strive to develop employees who are engaged, connected, and committed to your organization. Then the “who” of your brand will become synonymous with “what” your designed brand image is.
Written by: Sabrina Pack