While I’m on vacation, I’ve asked some very smart bloggers whom I am fortunate to consider my friends, to share some insights with you. Enjoy their brilliance because before you know it, you’ll be stuck with me again! Next up, Anna Farmery.
Branding is so often seen as the external face of the company. Yet, in my opinion the brand is not what ‘you say it is’, it is what the ‘consumers feel it is’…….and that feeling is created by the people within your organization. To engage consumers, you need to engage employees first and foremost.
After saying that, we must not over complicate this idea of employee engagement and branding. I remember calling round to see my Dad and talking to him about our new internal branding program, he looked at me and said "Can I give you some advice. Don’t make this complicated. What you are talking about is actually being a good leader, forget trying to ‘create an internal brand’, just do 2 things:
1) Allow communication to flow – make sure everyone is listening, talking with and understanding each other…..make sure that people feel excited by what they can achieve – yes as a person, but also as an important part of the team…and you can only do that if you understand what excites them.
2) Understand you cannot create a brand, you create a product or service and an advertising slogan…it is the consumers, the employees that ultimately decide the real brand promise. So concentrate on what you can control, that is how people feel in every interaction with you and not on what you cannot control, and that is how people think.
And you know Anna, (my Dad went on to say) the profit and loss is not a picture of financial wealth, it is a picture of emotional, brand health."
- Is the brand providing continuous perceived value – are sales growing?
- Is the brand offering something different in the marketplace – is the margin healthy?
- Do you have the right balance between creative and process efficiency? – Value added ?
- Is your leadership and management team, leading, managing and engaging – Net Profit?
I went back from that conversation with Dad and worked through the figures. What was interesting, actually startling…was that when you broke that profit and loss down, either into functions or profit centers then the following was true:
- The high achieving departments compared to objectives had the highest engagement scores.
- The high achieving subsidiaries had the highest engagement scores.
- The highest customer satisfaction scores came from units with the highest engagement scores.
- The lowest performing unit had the lowest engagement scores and the lowest customer satisfaction scores.
- All the breakthrough new products or services had come from the high engagement teams.
Great brands understand that engagement comes from within the organization and great brands understand that the way to value engagement is to measure engagement.
The profit and loss is not just a financial statement, it is also a statement on your brand engagement.
Drew’s Note: Anna spends her days helping clients understand that branding begins at home. One of my favorite aspects of her blog, The Engaging Brand, is when she recalls the wisdom of her dad and how he influenced her world view. She also produces one of the most popular weekly podcasts around. You’ll love every episode and want to go back and listen to all the archived editions too. Check it out here.