If youre like a lot of B2B brands, you already understand the importance of branding. You want the public to have a clear sense of who you are and what you offer because you know the impact this can have on your sales and growth—but have you thought about your employees?
The fact is, along with your web presence and marketing materials, your employees can dramatically impact your brand messaging. Like it or not, the people at the front desk are brand ambassadors. Your sales people are your representatives. Your employees have a huge impact on the customer experience. So when your employees share your understanding, they help you grow; when they dont, they damage your credibility.
Here are tips for gauging employee understanding and then knowing what to do about it!
What Do Your Employees Think?
Do you know what your employees are saying about your company? Do they have a solid understanding of your brand? Here are ways to find out.
Social Media Interaction
When you want to know what your employees are saying, you have to go where they are. Stay active on sites like Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter in order to keep up with the way your brand is described and talked about online. Likewise, set up Google Alerts for mentions of your brand throughout the Web.
Dissatisfied employees are employees who will damage your brand. Not only are they unmotivated to promote your brand, theyre also very motivated to harm it. Do you know how satisfied your employees are in their roles? Its a good idea to find out. Satisfied employees are much more likely to take on your brand-campaigning cause, not to mention be more productive in the workplace.
Training and Development
When employees first join your company, do you educate them on your brand? Without proper training, it will be hard for them to talk about your products and services in a way that aligns with your brand. Likewise, do you offer company materials that reinforce your messaging?
If digging into employee understanding leaves you feeling discouraged, take heart. There are clear steps you can take to improve your employee branding.
What Can You Do?
Once you see the disparity between what you do and how employees perceive it, here are a few simple tips for changing it!
1. Audit Internal Communications
Are your company communication materials consistent with your brand identity and promise? Are you communicating to your staff as clearly as you want to communicate to prospects? Before you do anything else, get these parts of your company aligned with your goals.
2. Train Employees
Likewise, invest in training that educates all employees on what you do. All new employees should receive training within their first month at the company, and all managers should know how to reinforce this message to their staff.
3. Establish a Social Media Policy
The best way to prevent a branding crisis via social media is by establishing clear social media guidelines for your staff. Set up a policy and communicate it clearly to your employees, giving them ground rules for what they can and cant share about your company.
4. Regularly Reassess
Keep aware of how employees, especially those who engage with customers, understand your brand. Check in, whether via interview or survey or observing, to see if employees feel like they have the resources needed to deliver on your brand promise. Provide training, support or feedback in areas that are lacking.
5. Reward Performance
Recognize those employees who communicate and deliver on your brand promise to customers. This reinforces brand-enhancing behavior and encourages other employees to follow suit.
6. Give Employees a Voice
Regularly ask employees, either one-on-one or in meetings, for ideas on improving brand communication. Doing so demonstrates your genuine commitment to both your brand and your employees and engenders trust.