Strength in Numbers
As we’ve said before, brands aren’t just dreamt up out of thin air. You can’t just state “this is what our brand is like” and be done with it. The foundations of a brand start with you and your people.
When defining your brand, you should be consulting those that live and breathe it on a daily basis, your staff. If you don’t, you run the risk of creating something that isn’t a true reflection of your values and the way you interact. In doing so you’ll also be demonstrating how they are a key component of the success of the brand as you bring them along on the brand’s journey.
And as a result, you’ll gain something plenty of businesses struggle with; you’ll gain buy in and turn your staff into true believers – brand guardians. When your brand and workforce are aligned, you’re off to the best possible start for promoting your brand to an external audience.
Here’s three reasons why…
Hi, hello, good day
Starting from the way that your staff answer the phone, respond to emails or greet people at the door, that first direct interaction that a client or prospect has with a representative of your brand is key. Your audience has likely built up a level of understanding about what your brand represents and how it conducts itself through whatever primary messaging or communication that they may have consumed (your website, a flyer, advertising, email campaign etc.)
A direct interaction with your people needs to follow suit and align with these expectations in order to reinforce those values and build trust. So, a team that is already aligned to your brand’s tone will instinctively follow suit and provide that joined-up experience from the first interaction and at every stage after that. The consistency of tone at each touchpoint is key in the strength of your brand.
Alongside the tone used, an internal team that’s truly bought into the brand will be able to understand when things start to veer of course visually as well.
For example, someone putting together a presentation file for a client pitch will be able to tell if it doesn’t have the right look and feel; if it differs wildly from other visual assets. It may be that they’re then able to correct the course and bring it back in line with the brand, or it may be that they can request support from another member of the team before finishing the asset. Either way, their alignment with the brand acts as a flag for them to ensure that it’s represented visually in the best possible way.
They’ll also understand that they need to adhere to those brand guidelines for good reason. If they’re brought on that journey and educated as to the why, they’ll be far less likely to just tweak the logo, add their own strapline or switch fonts and colours to their personal favourites. Again, this consistency will help to build trust with your audience.
New habits for new starters
A team full of brand advocates breeds other brand advocates. Any new starters joining the team obviously won’t have been part of the original branding project or the journey that existing team members will have been on.
The brand work should absolutely be introduced and presented to new starters as part of the onboarding process, so that they can understand the brand values and promise, as well as the functional aspects such as tone, templates and brand guidelines. But it’ll be so much easier for those new employees to buy into the importance and positioning of the brand if they’re surrounded by others actively demonstrating those brand values and living the brand each day.
These are just three examples of the benefits that bringing your workforce on your brand journey brings. Not only does it inform the direction of the brand itself, it helps ensure that all that hard work was worthwhile and that brand integrity will be maintained long after the ink has dried on the brand guidelines.
It may take more work up front to ensure the team is on board and everyone is pulling in the same direction. You may need to run workshops and brand training… but the time that you put in at that stage is fundamental to the longevity and success of the brand work.
If you need any support for upcoming brand work, or would like to undertake a free assessment of your existing brand within your organisation, please get in touch. We’d happily discuss branding with you much more (it’s getting us to stop talking about it that’s the trick!)