Building an emotional connection with customers is one of the most important factors in business success. Customers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on what they feel vs. what they know. A Fierce Retail study reported that 82 percent of customers always choose a brand that they feel connected to emotionally. The question ...Continue reading >
Building an emotional connection with customers is one of the most important factors in business success. Customers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on what they feel vs. what they know. A Fierce Retail study reported that 82 percent of customers always choose a brand that they feel connected to emotionally.
The question is – how does a brand build this connection and maintain it over time? A good place to start is with employees.
Employees are a company’s greatest brand ambassadors. Before a brand can build a reputation externally, it must be built—and embraced—on the inside. How employees feel about their employer and what they represent is key to how the public views that company.
It’s when employees are informed and engaged in a company’s core values that they can live them out in their interactions with customers, in the community, and with potential recruits. Here are a few strategies to build this bridge:
Start with what you stand for
Brand values represent what a company uniquely stands for. Different from a mission statement, values provide greater definition about who the company is and how they work. For example – WeWork promotes their values as “Empathy over Ego, Operate with Integrity, Innovation for the Greater Good.” NerdWallet is guided by: “Make a Difference, Break the Mold, Love your Team, Learn and Grow.” Articulating these values and making them known to employees provides them a compass through which they can make daily decisions that authentically represent the brand.
Practice what you preach
Implementing brand values must start internally. Trust is the currency of good branding. Employees must feel like the image the company is portraying on the outside is consistent with their personal experiences. Famously, Google lives up to its “freedom to create” brand value through their 70/20/10 policy – giving employees structured space for innovation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on creating the opportunity for “every person to have a healthy, productive life,” offers one of the best in class parental leave policies in the U.S.
Show what’s in it for them
Employees don’t want to be told what to believe or how to act. Instead, they want to understand how what they are doing in their jobs contributes to a larger purpose. They want to feel appreciated and valued for their work. When a sales manager stands out for their empathy for customers, they should be compensated accordingly. When a creative manager provides an idea that breaks the mold, commend them in front of their peers.
Activate and involve
Real people tell the best stories, and employees are the real people behind your brand. When sharing the impact the company is having in communities, use examples of employees who are initiating volunteer opportunities in their neighborhoods. When employees see their colleagues in a social media post, they are more likely to share it. When a new product or important announcement comes out, empower and equip employees with content to share with their personal networks. This goes for recruiting too. When employees share relevant work examples and experiences on their social media channels, including LinkedIn, it showcases the company culture and values more than the company’s website ever could.
A strong brand reputation requires strong employee engagement. With the right intention and strategies, employees will become your best brand ambassadors.Continue reading >
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