For brands to flourish the company itself, and the employee’s as well, must reflect and deliver the brand story everyday as they interact and connect with the consumers engaged with the company and brand. Branding is so much more than a logo. It is about finding that core message within the company that connects with the consumer and relating that message to every consumer every day in every place that the consumer touches your company. That is imperative. So as the following article states you identify and find ways to engage your employee’s in the delivery and reflection of that core brand value in the way they do their work. It also needs to be reflected in every department because they to reflect on how consumers perceive of your brand as well. Remember that one bad experience communicated thru social media can cause up to 53% of the consumers interacting in that space to question whether they will buy your product again, so having everyone on your team reflecting your core values and supporting your brand statement and conditions will go a long way to engaging them in the resolution of those problems and keep you customer coming back time and again.
Forbes Magazine online
Why CMOs Must Find Novel Ways To Make Employees A Part Of Brand Story
This article is by Chelsea Vandiver, executive managing director, creative, at Ziba Design, Inc.
There seems to be no limit to what services we can automate today, from banking to grocery shopping to car rental. But for every step businesses take in that direction, consumers take a step in the other, toward a greater desire for human connection with the brands they want to trust.
Some of the smartest brands have responded in kind. Services such as Amazon, Zappos (acquired by Amazon in 2012) and Netflix have built their reputations almost as much on customer service as on the books, shoes and movies they sell. This should not be surprising, since effective automation of basic customer services is so inexpensive and ubiquitous that it’s ceased to be a differentiator. Instead, it’s the humans who interact with your customers that are more likely to set you apart today, regardless of what you sell.
This is different from the earnest salesman or graceful maitre d’ of years past. With many of the basic actions of browsing, purchasing and customizing shunted off to user-operated systems (often to the relief of both customer and employee), today’s crucial service professionals are more properly thought of as problem solvers and brand ambassadors than just conduits for making sales. For CMOs, this means a shift in thinking about how we hire, train and incentivize them.
Hire and Train to Support the Brand
Expressing a brand’s personality today means more than simply stating it in marketing messages. Companies must also have employees who share the values that stand behind their brand. In practice, this can mean looking to your brand loyalists for future employees, or simply making shared passion part of the screening process.
Think about powerful brands like Disney, Apple and Nike. The design and business press tends to focus on their capacity for innovation, but each of these companies also provides an extraordinary customer experience in its stores or (in Disney’s case) its parks, largely because they make a point of recruiting loyalists eager to reinforce the brand. Apple Store employees tend to be fans of the brand to begin with, and their approach to training is carefully designed to reinforce the Apple idea that technology is an enriching force in people’s lives.
Build a Unified Experience
Successful brands start by defining a set of unifying principles to ensure that their messaging, visual and physical experience are consistent, and then communicate those principles to customer-facing employees. This means that employee training is more than simply learning new skills and processes, but an opportunity to absorb the principles that define the brand.
Starbucks has taken this idea to heart in a dramatic way. Every year, the company flies around 10,000 store managers to a massive, multi-day conference, designed to reinforce brand principles and ideals as much as provide training. Replete with theatrical lighting, music, video, and installations including hundreds of live coffee plants (among other things), the Starbucks “Leadership Lab” is something like an immersive theme-park experience. The company’s Seattle headquarters carries on this immersive tendency, with an entrance that’s actually a Starbucks cafe, through which employees walk each day before heading upstairs to offices that announce the brand’s history and philosophy at every turn.
Zappos goes even further, having built much of its brand identity on the engaged, freewheeling style of customer service its employees provide. In part, this is because Zappos hires very carefully, and gives new hires who don’t fit ample opportunity to leave. More important, though, is the culture-first nature of Zappos employee training. New hire training lasts a month, and besides teaching functional job skills, it includes scavenger hunts, co-worker shadowing exercises and a range of other activities designed to instill a sense of the company’s exuberant culture. For customers, the result is a consistent and delightful service experience every time they interact with the brand.
Identify Signature Human Moments
Every brand builds a unique relationship with customers, and its signature elements are an opportunity to reinforce that relationship. Amazon, for example, is a service that’s built up brand identity around the idea of instant access. Amazon’s role is to remove every obstacle that stands between a customer and a purchase, unless something goes wrong. They know that any kind of intrusive customer service on their homepage would violate this role and betray the brand relationship.
Instead they’ve introduced the Mayday Button, a way of instantly connecting customers with live service representatives, but only at a point of friction. For a brand built on speed, this is exactly right: expert, capable, empathetic humans at the moment something goes wrong, and well-designed automated interface everywhere else.
The judicious use of human interaction is a necessary response to our increasingly automated service landscape, and a competitive advantage that’s difficult to just copy and paste. No matter how technically savvy, customers expect a human face to the brands they love, and companies would be wise to make sure it’s the right one.