All Brand Builders invest to build external consumer resonance. Exceptional Brand Builders invest in what Lisa Hillenbrand at P&G dubbed Inside Out Brand Building — activities that result in employees understanding, embracing, and activating the Brand. Often, issues with external communications are manifestations of internal problems.
Top 10 ways to ensure your employees build your Brand:
- Discover and Communicate compelling Brand Ideal. One that is rooted in fundamental human values and ignites employee passion (Red Bull: Energize the World).
- Recruit Employees who share Brand Values/Ideal. Nike seeks out employees who are passionate about sports and fitness. IBM hires people who want to create a Smarter Planet (“I am an IBMer” has gone viral). Red Bull screens sampling team applicants for high personal energy level.
- Build Culture around the Ideal. Zappos immerses new employees in its customer-obsessed culture for weeks and then offers a $1000 quitting bonus. Why? Because employees who bite don’t have the commitment required. Nike embeds its culture throughout its work environments, with jogging trails, fitness clubs and even a sports pub at its world headquarters.
- Immersive Employee Experiences. Employees who live with a family in rural Venezuela and hand wash clothes with them will build empathy and commitment that are unattainable through reading reports, charts, and statistics.
- Academies. Many strong Brands use interactive “classroom” training sessions for employees to explore, practice, and internalize what the Brand is and isn’t.
- Brand “Bibles”: Compilations of Strategic/Executional choices that establish that Brand is bigger than any one person/opinion and “do” and “don’t” guidelines. Hershey Guidelines state that flavors “must be” cocoa based, “can be” a specified range of flavors, and “can never be” alcohol filled.
- Induction. When I joined Crisco Shortening in 1985 (as a native New Yorker!), I was immediately sent to meet consumers in Birmingham, Alabama (aka “Crisco Country”) as one part of my induction.
- Leadership Behavior/Communication: Everything Leaders say/do matters and should be fully consistent with the Brand Ideal. CEO of a green focused company shouldn’t drive a Hummer.
- Rewards: Make heroes out of employees who demonstrate exemplary Brand Building behavior (e.g. – hotel housekeeper who went “dumpster diving” to find a guest’s mouth guard).
- Brand Health Checks: Annual “audits” to see if Marketing executions are fully consistent with Brand; Action plan to address internal and external barriers.
Are you doing enough Inside Out Brand Building?