Founder & Inspirational Diva
11th August 2016
Creating, understanding and living your brand is so important to engage both your organisation and your customers. So the behaviour and substance that your brand communicates is really crucial for business sustainability and growth.
In my experience as an employee engagement consultant, it’s most likely the most underutilised and powerful tools in your organisation are the ones that can literally turn business around.
With this in mind I’ve scratched the surface with my 5 sure steps to get your team on brand.
Your first point of call is to review or create your brand values. This is almost always best done as a team and in creative collaboration.
Some companies have brand pillars for their organisations, some have a sentence and some have many. Look for inspiration from organisations with strong brands such as Admiral, Google, Virgin and Zappos to name a few.
If you work for a large organisation and your values have already been pre-set – either dig down into those values to gain further insight or create your own team values along the same lines. Imagine how much more switched on your team could be in comparison to their/your peers who haven’t explored this.
Making space for truly grappling with your group ‘why’ and drivers are really important. Buzz sessions, surveys and talking will get you where you need to be with this task. Consider what you stand for and what your customers expect from you in terms of quality and delivery.
Treat this as a mini team building exercise for your employees. This will bond them together and get their thinking aligned. It’s a great activity for being more mindful collectively of how you think, feel and behave as a team or organisation. This is invaluable going forward.
Don’t be afraid to ask trusted customers how they feel about your service – this could also give you some key words around your behaviours.
Once you’ve decided on your sentences or words that feel right make sure they’re visible; on your website, on your office walls etc. Use the words or sentences often internally so they become part of your communication culture.
Your brand is the life blood of your business. So many people misunderstand that a brand is not just a logo or a set of company colours.
Your brand determines how everything feels both internally with your team and externally with your customers. It’s wise to know that even if you haven’t established your brand, there will still be a brand culture which is invisible even if you haven’t named it.
Recognise this and deal with it so you can have control over your true brand and how your employee talent behaves.
One great exercise is to pretend that your business is a person and imagine how your brand would speak, behave, dress and show up in the world. Then translate that into your organisational brand identity.
Once you’ve completed the first two steps you will hopefully then have a good idea of how your brand feels, looks and behaves as a whole.
It’s now time to set your brand value behaviours. This is the step that most businesses leave out – and it’s the most important element in my opinion.
This is crucially important as behaviour determines culture. If you are going to have any input or dare I say control over your brand culture, it’s by doing this exercise well.
Establishing your brand value behaviours and what they truly look like in everyday working life will determine how your organisation functions in challenging times, as well as when the ship is sailing smoothly.
Working out your brand values and what they mean has already been a group task for you – keep that theme going and broaden the discussion with your team at this point. Engaging your team in the meat of this task will prove wonderful for employee motivation.
This can be a really tricky task and you should give it some time. Don’t rush this process. It will help you to really dig down into each word to make them doing words.
‘Values’ is a verb when it comes to business.
For instance – one of our values is team work. Team work means working together on the surface – of course. Dig deeper and you’ll find that this also means respecting one another, listening, communicating and considering one another. It means being inclusive.
It can filter down into lateness, sickness and sharing workload because one of its primary verbs is taking ownership…….so you can see that once you go deeper, you can have one word which means a tonne of things.
Once people are on board with your values it can most definitely help with productivity and save you money. Think of how much more successful your sales team will be if they were on brand and how seamless the hand over will be to customer service.
When your customers feel they are in a great process where each touch point feels the same, (i.e. On brand) it’s a sure fire way to win more money and help to retain your customers too.
Because you will have cleverly involved your team in establishing your values, brand and what they mean in behaviour, it’s now time to be accountable to one another.
Deciding that you’ll all watch out for each other and be brand ambassadors will help your team to run smoothly and to stay on brand.
This means full cooperation from every individual in supporting one another with behaviours and feeding back (in a respectful manner) if certain behaviours don’t meet your culture.
Ownership plays a big part in this, as does being mindful of how we interact and show up.
As a leader you may have to keep a close eye on behaviour while people are learning to do this. Watch out for those egos…. getting your new found behaviours embedded within your team is meant to enrich their experience not to divide them, so make sure you lead well on this and lead by example.
Finally, once you have established your brand identity and your team are functioning with new found team working behaviours, it’s time to align your brand with your customers, suppliers, new recruits and anyone else who has any dealings with your team or organisation.
For instance, if one of your brand values is sustainability, you want to make sure you only use recyclable products in your office. If one of your brand values is fairness, you won’t want to align yourself with a customer that displays any type of anti-social beliefs such as racism or homophobia.
When recruiting, make sure your brand value behaviours are present in your people specification. And trust your gut instinct when hiring. Get prospective recruits to spend time with your team as part of the hiring process so you can see if they are on brand and fit with everyone else.
This goes both ways – if there’s an existing team member who isn’t on brand, give them some chances to improve or let them go. Remember that your brand culture is paramount to your success.
If you have the ability to, align yourself with like minded people and organisations and you won’t go far wrong.
If you choose the right suppliers who are on brand with you it will make that relationship long and fruitful. If you find designers who understand your brand totally – you’ll get a great brand visual identity which will match with your inner brand values, behaviour and culture.
This is the same for any outsourcers, particularly if any of those are customer facing. Don’t let anyone who isn’t on brand ruin the brand you’ve created. All it takes is a spelling mistake in an email or in inappropriate tone to undo all your hard work… and your reputation.
Protect your brand at all costs.
It’s no secret that we become like the people we spend the most time with so make sure that in your business, you are aligned with the right type of people both inside and out.
And as a leader – make sure you keep yourself in check. Review your values as often as you feel necessary. Don’t let them become meaningless wallpaper.
Live your brand and your brand will take care of business for you.
We’d love to know your experience and if we can help you discover your true brand.