Listening to the Voice of Employees – How an Authentic Brand Promise is Shaped from Within

As discussed in our recent eBook, “Are You Delivering On Your Brand Promise?” a brand promise gives consumers a reason to consider becoming a customer by promising to deliver a meaningful benefit. It’s important for marketers to carefully craft their brand promise, cultivate its growth, and monitor its success over time. Employees play a critical role in this process, as they are the heart and soul of a company’s brand.  When your employees understand, believe, and demonstrate your brand promise, chances are your customers consistently experience it as well.  Here are some ways to engage employees in both developing and delivering an authentic brand promise.

Brand Promises Grow From the Inside Out

Input from employees can help shape and refine your brand promise over time. The interactions they have with customers and other employees within the organization can reveal a great deal.  Listening to employees’ stories about their interactions with customers can uncover inspiring examples of your brand promise in action. It may also identify areas where your brand promise is not being kept, which is information all brands need to know in order to improve and grow.

Get Employees in the Game

Getting employees involved in developing and nurturing your brand promise can go a long way toward motivating them to regularly deliver that promise to your customers. Consider giving them ways to share stories about times when they witnessed or were responsible for making a customer feel good about a brand experience. Whether you conduct a series of focus groups, round table discussions, or even brainstorming sessions, what you’ll hear from your employees may be quite enlightening.

The stories they tell express their beliefs about the company’s brand promise. They may even bring to light potential disconnects between their perceptions and the company’s intended brand promise. In the end, giving employees a voice lets them know they play an essential role and can inspire them to deliver your brand promise in new ways.

Do a Reality Check

It’s also a good idea to gather employee feedback to confirm their understanding and adoption of your brand promise. For instance, many companies conduct employee satisfaction surveys.  Consider adding a few questions to monitor employees’ awareness and perceptions of your brand promise.

  • What do they believe your company stands for?
  • What key values best describe your company?
  • Can they share examples of these values in action?
  • Do they believe your company is living up to its brand promise? Why or why not?

The purpose isn’t to identify employees who have a ‘wrong’ understanding of the brand promise. The goal is to identify opportunities to clarify your employees’ understanding of your brand promise and strengthen their commitment to demonstrating it. Feedback from employee surveys might indicate that there are gaps in your internal communications or it might highlight the need to better educate your staff on their role as brand ambassadors.

Spread the Word

Educating employees on how their work impacts customers’ experience of your brand promise is critical. They should be inspired to demonstrate the promise in their interactions with customers and each other.  Fostering employee engagement to act on your brand promise can be accomplished in many ways.

For example, outdoor equipment retailer REI created a site on their intranet called, “Around the Campfire,” where management shares ideas, news about employee awards, updates on featured products, and a ‘question of the month.’ The site is meant to encourage dialogue among employees and upper management and give real-world examples of their brand promise in action. Other innovative ways to engage employees include:

  • A company ‘culture’ book – Explain your brand promise and set expectations for how each employee can live up to it on a daily basis.
  • Personal brand promise goals – Employees can be asked to set a brand promise goal tied to their role and the customers’ brand experience. These goals can then be incorporated into performance evaluations.
  • Stories of ‘brand promises kept’ – Feature stories in internal and external communications such as newsletters, intranet, company blog, website, etc.
  • Brand vision video – Invite employees from different departments and experience/ management levels to share their hopes and aspirations for the company in short video clips.
  • Employee appreciation events – Include contests/awards themed around your brand promise to recognize and thank employees for their dedication and personal initiative.

Employees Are a Brand’s Greatest Asset

Engaging employees in the development and delivery of your company’s brand promise is a smart business strategy. They offer a wealth of knowledge that can be tapped into when developing and refining your brand promise direction. Gathering feedback on their perceptions of your brand promise can help identify internal communication gaps that, if not quickly resolved, could negatively impact your customers’ experiences. However, the most important role they play is in the way they bring your brand promise to life through their interactions with customers, either directly, or behind the scenes. Companies that make it a priority to educate and empower their employees through internal brand promise communications see big dividends. In the words of Walt Disney, “You can design, create, and build the most wonderful place in the world.  But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

For more tips on how to clearly communicate and deliver your brand promise to customers, we invite you to download our complimentary eBook, “Are Your Delivering On Your Brand Promise?

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