Living the brand, your people matter
Great brand thinking and positioning is essential for any business. But a brand can’t just live on paper in strategy documents. Your people need to be living the brand day in day out.
Brands don’t live in documents
A great brand positioning and strategy, or the thinking that goes into your brand story is an essential part of business nowadays. People don’t interact with logos, advertising or products. They want to know the product they purchase meets what they need, but they also want to connect with the brand through its values and the way it does business. This needs thought.
But, that brand thinking can’t live purely on paper in the marketing team. A brand is made up of every facet customers see – advertising, products, website, logo, brochures, the list is huge. Your people too.
Your people should be living the brand
One of the most important parts of a brand is the people in the business. They’re living the brand every day. Your people need to know the brand thinking and where your brand is heading.
It doesn’t matter if they are customer facing, or making the products your customers buy, they need an understanding of your brand vision to help deliver it. Remember, just putting them in a company uniform doesn’t mean they will be on brand!
Think deeper than a bland company mission statement ‘to be the best’. Your people need detail. Face facts, they talk, do, Tweet and act independently, so how do you want them to behave? They’ll want to know as brand success is in their interest.
John Lewis want to create a brand that customers trust to deliver great service, knowledge and products at prices that represent good value. Their people need to deliver (and do by our experience) a huge amount to live their brand. From the buyers selecting great products who never see a customer, to the people on the floor telling you why the TV you’re looking at is the best one for you. The people are friendly, helpful and know their stuff.
So it’s vital your people, from the top down, understand what your brand is about. Living the brand is about knowing some basics:
- What you believe in as a company
- What you do to set your brand apart
- How you behave, act and talk
- What’s the story – where has this brand been, where’s it going?
They need this basic detail so their work reflects it. It’s no good saying you’re an inspirational ‘ideas focused’ brand on your website if none of your employees invest time in being inspirational or dreaming up new ideas!
As a golden rule we keep brand strategy thinking uncomplicated, so marketing and brand teams have a clear and precise brand vision. Things work better that way. The same is true for communicating brand to your people, but more so.
Turn your brand communications into easy to understand, readable, watchable and engaging communications. People like to know what sort of a company they work for, so use their enthusiasm to learn more.
If your brand is undergoing change, or you’re re-setting the brand course and direction, then you probably want to consider some specific activities. These can be woven into the everyday, using your normal communications channels. For larger organisations think how internal news articles can highlight activities, behaviour and successes that are ‘on brand’. Some organisations even make brand behaviours part of their performance reviews. After all, a creative ideas based brand needs to have, you guessed it, people with ideas and a thirst for creativity.
Not everyone is the same. We’re not saying you need to produce programmed robots. But a brand that is understood by its people can produce an experience that’s consistently working towards the right brand goals.
People are your most powerful asset. Use them. Give them the understanding to live the brand every day and they’ll make your brand stronger. Let us know what you think!