In our free market system, strong and positive consumer brand recognition is essential to a company’s long-term viability. While this is always true no matter the economic climate, it’s especially true right now. Consumer spending is more cautious and deliberate and product/service options, while temporarily squeezed, will increase as talented individuals opt to start their own businesses rather than work for someone else. Creating a strong brand image and extending its reach as far as possible is essential to insuring your company stands strong amongst its competition as we move forward in the market.
Your staff can make or break your brand. They touch everything. They innovate; build products; deliver service; and provide opinions to anyone who asks about the quality and value your organization offers. Consumers trust advice from those with first-hand knowledge and generally follow those opinions when considering a purchase. Do you feel 100% confident that employee opinion about your brand is aligned with your desired brand image?
Brand value and quality must be internalized before authentic, positive communication about the brand is possible. This distills down to the “give and get” relationship at your organization. Think of it this way: When you create brand messaging that describes your company internally, ask yourself – does it align with the same external messaging you are communicating to consumers about your company’s product or service? An interesting exercise is to create a comparative chart analyzing your brand’s internal versus external value. Here is an example:
|External Brand Value||Internal Brand Value|
|1. Brand image peeks and holds consumer interest.||1. Employees work on projects they find interesting.|
|2. Brand image portrays continuous innovation.||2. Motivation focuses on growth and opportunity rather than avoiding punitive action.|
|3. Brand image responds to consumer feedback.||3. Employees are encouraged to provide input. Management listens and respectfully responds.|
How your staff feels and what they say about your organization impacts your external brand image, especially when technology affords both employees and consumers the ability to share information about your company at the click of a button. If you haven’t thought about brand image and employee brand influence before, now is the time. Consumers are listening.