Maintaining brand consistency in an enterprise is challenging. There are many moving parts that need to be on the same page about goals and strategies. The past few weeks, we’ve chatted about the communication needs in multiple levels of management. While communication between managers needs to be stellar, companies should also focus on how well brand objectives are communicated to non-managerial staff and employees.
As the face of the organization, staff and employees need an applicable understanding of how to best represent their brand. This is where communicating the brand internally becomes a major step to reaching brand consistency.
Reaching the Employee
When discussing the brand vision to staff and employees, it’s essential that organizations shoot for high levels of employee engagement. If the organization is looking to change the direction of its brand then many of the supporting values, objectives, and ideas will be new. For some staff and employees, adjusting to this change can be difficult. With active employee engagement, like discussing ideas and exchanging feedback, staff and employees can better embody the brand.
“To win the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”. – Douglas Conant, Former CEO of Campbell Soup Co.1
When talking about brand values and objectives, there are three processes that must be present to effectively engage employees:
- Clear Brand Definitions
- Reinforcing Positive Behaviors
- Measuring Your Progress
By engaging employees in these processes, brand values and objectives are internalized into their everyday work.
Defining Your Brand
The most important step in communicating your brand is developing a clear vision that is applicable to staff and employees. For example, top executives will have a different understanding of the word “efficiency” than an hourly employee. To a top executive, it may mean optimizing channels for boosted performance. The hourly employee will see the word “efficiency” and think, “How am I supposed to do more when I can hardly keep up with what I have?” Although the end-goals are the same—a more efficient enterprise—the application of the vision will be different to each role.
To develop a more applicable brand vision, ask staff and employees for their feedback. Not only will this help the organization communicate its vision, it will also give the organization an understanding of how well staff and employees are aligning with the brand. If responses aren’t great, it’s a sign that the vision isn’t clear enough. A well-defined brand will answer:
- Why does your brand (company, service, or product) exist?
- What value are customers supposed to receive?
- How does the vision help employees align with the brand?
Answering these questions will give the organization a better understanding of how to communicate the brand with staff and employees.
Reinforcing Positive Behaviors
An enterprise’s culture can have a major impact in the consistency of a brand. Qualities like how employees see symbols, success, structure and processes, stated values and motivations come from organizational culture. The manifestation of culture is visible through employee behaviors. When an organization’s culture contradicts its brand, employees will engage in unfavorable behaviors like taking shortcuts, opposing ideas and ignoring company values.
It’s important for an organization to reinforce positive behaviors that are consistent with its brand. When the enterprise backs positive behaviors, staff and employees are encouraged to repeat successes. To positively reinforce positive brand behaviors, management teams should:
- Regularly discuss brand behaviors
- Act as role models and demonstrate brand behaviors daily
- Celebrate and recognize employees who demonstrate brand behaviors
- Actively hold employees accountable by offering feedback
Measuring Your Progress
When employees are practicing positive brand behaviors, they are more likely to meet objectives. In order to maintain brand consistency, the company must actively measure continued performance. In an enterprise, this can be challenging as objectives span across multiple levels, regions and responsibilities.
CoEFFICIENT®, a Store Relationship Management (SRM) platform, can help management teams improve the quality of communication with modules that assess brand consistency throughout the enterprise. For more information on how CoEFFICIENT can add efficiency to your internal communication and provide customers with a consistent brand experience, download our Store Relationship Management white paper to read more.
1. Roger D. “How Campbell’s Soup’s Former CEO Turned the Company Around”. Fast Company. http://www.fastcompany.com/3035830/hit-the-ground-running/how-campbells-soups-former-ceo-turned-the-company-around ↩
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