One of the best purposes of employee communication is to help connect employees of your company to its brand and products, if it makes stuff. People who understand what their company does, what it stands for and what it makes are more likely to be engaged in the business and therefore commit more of their discretionary effort to it.
Besides, employees can be your brand’s best representatives out in the marketplace, in the community and among customers. People who have a deep understanding of their company’s brand are more likely and better able to articulate it to others.
Here are three ways to connect your company’s employees to its brand:
Familiarize employees with your company’s products/services. It’s interesting how many companies never do this. People come to work every day, but sometimes don’t have a clue about what the company really does. I began my corporate career in a plant that manufactured printed circuit boards. Many employees knew a lot about those printed circuit boards, but knew little about how our customers used them — the end-products that the boards went into. Part of the reason might have been that the end-products weren’t all that sexy (power systems for telecommunications equipment, for example). But when one customer used the boards in one of the first “picture phones” (this was the early ’90s), employees became excited and proud of the products they made. Help employees understand your company’s products and services. Depending on what the products/services are, it might be difficult to make them sound exciting, but employees need to know what your company does for customers.
Tell stories about the company and its brand. One of my last gigs as a consultant was to research and write the history of a well-known consumer product made by one of my clients. The idea was to publish a booklet that employees, especially the sales force, could read to help them tell the brand’s story to retail customers and consumers. The project manager, who worked in marketing, said in order to understand where the brand is going, employees needed to understand where the brand had been. That makes a lot of sense. As it turns out, the brand had a rich, colorful history that would generate a lot of pride among its custodians today. I’ve written before about the power of storytelling. People remember stories and it helps connect them to a brand in a way no other form of communication can.
Ask for employees’ ideas on how to build and extend the brand. Most companies that make products have employees in research and development whose full-time jobs are to innovate new products that strengthen and extend the brand. Wise company leaders ask employees at large for their ideas and suggestions. After all, employees likely use their company’s products. With robust employee communications, they understand the products very well and they know where the company’s growth opportunities exist. So they are in a good position to generate new ideas. Who knows where the next great idea will come from?
Employees are too rich a resource to squander when it comes to communicating your company’s brand, products and services. Educate them, then enlist them as brand ambassadors. You might be surprised at how willing they are to play that role.
Filed under: Employee Communication, Marketing, storytelling | Tagged: brand ambassadors, branding, communicating with customers, Employee Communication, employee engagement, employee ideas, employee suggestions, innovation, marketing communication, storytelling |