There seems to be a growing practice in the world of corporate branding to involve the workforce. Executives understand that what you want the brand to be, isn’t always the way it is actually perceived. The way to make your vision a reality is through the workforce. They make it come alive.
Unfortunately, like many other things, it’s easier said than done.
And some organizations rely too heavily on words instead of action. They also struggle on how to meaningfully involve employees in the process and at what point to involve them. To illustrate my point, below are two examples of corporate messages similar to some that have been sent out to employees to engage them in building the brand.
A brand is not about a logo, or a tagline — it’s about what we truly stand for.
In an effort to improve the company’s market position and tell a better story that gives our employees, clients, recruits and the marketplace a clearer sense of who we are and what makes us unique, we are launching our brand initiative today.
As part of our brand rollout, you will learn about our service principles that guide how we work with our clients to deliver excellent service.
You will also see many changes today, including a redesigned website emphasizing our key messages. We invite you to explore the resources in your packets and online, including our new brand video.
This is an excellent opportunity to build on our strengths — [identify what strengths are].
When we think of great brands, a number of names come to mind. Google. Coca-Cola. Disney. Apple. Just hearing these names conveys a powerful and familiar image of the company and its products.
When you think of our brand, what comes to mind? To help us define how we want to be viewed, we’re taking a fresh look at what our brand should convey, and identifying ways to better communicate who we are to the communities we serve.
As an employee, you are a brand ambassador to customers, friends and family, and the community. Because we value your perspective, it’s especially important that you have a voice in the process of revitalizing our brand. We kindly ask that you fill out the attached survey providing your feedback on our brand. Thank you for your participation.
While both communications are meant to inspire participation in the new brand (by either taking a survey or learning more via new resources), they both show hints of common pitfalls:
- Presenting a top-down strategy, which usually involves one-way communication that’s non-interactive. This is contrary to the idea of getting employees to become brandful and keep it going.
- Introducing the branding process with an employee survey. This is a quick way to gather information but can sometimes be viewed as a “check in the box” for including the employee perspective. This is not a way to get genuine support.
- Failing to clearly connect the employee to the brand. Effective communication would include:You are an important part of our brand. (Present a compelling example of either a customer comment or company story.)
- Launching a “brand initiative.” Your brand is something that constantly evolves whether you have an initiative or not. It’s all about your daily actions.
In my book, The Brandful Workforce – How Employees Can Make, Not Break Your Brand, the first step to any effort to involve employees in the brand, is to have a well-defined set of products and services (including a solid business model and mission) that employees can promote. Google, Coca-Cola, Disney, and Apple are good examples. They make it easy for the employees to get behind the brand. http://brandfulworkforce.com/beyond-branding-workforce/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/beyond-branding-workforce/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/beyond-branding-workforce/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/beyond-branding-workforce/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/beyond-branding-workforce/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/beyond-branding-workforce/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/beyond-branding-workforce/When I was speaking to an audience, I asked them to raise their hands if they could describe their company offerings in one sentence. Interestingly, very few raised their hands.
Is your company starting to involve employees in branding? Is the approach effective at creating genuine interactive participation where employees really have a valuable impact? Send me your comments.
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