Nice article by the Gallup Journal entitled Your Employees Don't "Get" Your Brand.
Having worked with more than 100 companies over the course of my career, I wholeheartedly agree.
From my perspective, there are three reasons why:
- Companies fail to identify their vision, mission, values and strategic positioning. A lot of senior executives think vision, mission, values and strategic positioning is b.s. They either don't understand or don't see the value of differentiation.
- Companies fail to articulate their vision, mission, values and strategic positioning in a way that resonates with, or can be remembered by employees. This is most easily accomplished with powerful brand stories that exemplify what your company stands for and how it's different from competitors.
- Companies fail to determine the level of understanding or alignment across the organization or with customers. A company with whom I worked thought their management team was completely aligned and that they knew exactly what their customers thought of them. Sadly, neither was true. This was one of the most siloed organizations I have seen.
So what should you do?
First, pull out your vision, mission, values and strategic positioning.
I you don't have it, you need to create it. You, your management team and your employees.
I'm happy to do it for you but you know your company better than me. I'm also happy to facilitate a meeting that will help you identify them.
Second, ask your employees to tell you what they think the vision, mission, values and strategic positioning of your firm are. Treat your employees like consumers and get their insights.
Once you identify the gaps in alignment, you can begin to address them via corporate communications or regular discussions with your employees.
Third, ask your best customers what makes your "different and better" than your competition, and who your competition is in their eyes. You may get a surprise.
If there's a gap between what your customers think makes you "different and better" and your vision, mission, values and strategic positioning, decide how your going to close that gap.
Perception is reality and today the consumer defines brands and companies.
Educate and empower your employees to tell a consistent brand story and exemplify the vision, mission, values and strategic positioning of your company -- starting with the management team.
Ensure the members of your management team are delivering a consistent and aligned message to the folks that report to them.
Remember the kindergarten game where one person told another person something and then you went around the circle repeating the same message? Imagine what happens when you have multiple managers attempting to communicate the vision, mission, values and strategic positioning of your firm.
Do not assume everyone is saying the same thing. Listen to your managers talking to employees and then ask employees to repeat back what they heard.
What do you do to ensure employees "get" your brand and deliver on the vision, mission, values and strategic positioning of your firm?