When new team members join an organization, workers are typically handed packets that outline branding standards during the onboarding process. Employees are expected to recognize and use only the organization’s official logos, branding colors, taglines, and key messages.
Yet after that initial introduction, these branding guidelines are usually filed away and all but forgotten. Unless employees work in marketing and communications, human resources, or sales, many workers don’t think about the company brand often enough.
That’s a problem. Today, all employees should support the organization’s marketing and sales efforts with an understanding that every interaction with a potential customer—whether on digital, social, or in-person—impacts the public perception of a brand. All team members need to appreciate the company’s unique value and become familiar with brand messages so they can represent and “sell” the company.
At the same time, successful companies recognize their employees as brand ambassadors and invest in regular brand training. This training can be as simple and affordable as monthly or quarterly email reminders, gamification, and friendly employee contests to test branding knowledge. The goal is to begin building a work environment where all employees can become proud, vocal advocates for their companies.
Here are some tips to support employee brand training:
• Inspire the staff: Adults learn best when they understand why and how the information they’re learning is directly relevant to their daily work, according to Malcolm Knowles, the pioneer of modern adult learning theory. Marketers should showcase success stories that allow employees to see and feel the brand’s positive impact on customers. They should also spotlight the founders’ stories and the reasons they started the organization.
• Emphasize the company’s importance: Share the company’s marketing goals and strategies with team members. Articulate a vision for where the company wants to go, and how everyone’s work contributes to that group goal. These communications give employees the vocabulary necessary for explaining the value of their work and the company’s purpose to others. They also will feel like part of a team doing important work.
• Integrate information on various channels: Be creative and proactive with brand messages on social media, mobile platforms, videoconferencing, intranet, email, and digital platforms to enhance enthusiasm for the company brand. Consider an e-newsletter to keep team members informed about customer wins, operations progress, best practices, and other news.
• Create impactful professional development programs: Keep employees engaged with recognitions and awards announcements, examples of team members “living the brand,” and career growth opportunities as part of ongoing talent development. Providing opportunities for professional growth will motivate employees to improve and elevate their work’s value. Professional development programs often uncover the star performers who will motive others as brand ambassadors. When team members take greater pride in and ownership of their work, they are more likely to support the company’s mission and goals.
It is marketing’s responsibility to ensure the brand is successfully managed. However, team members must also take ownership of their role in supporting the organization’s objectives.
That shouldn’t be difficult to accomplish, since team members want to care about their company, customers, and colleagues. They want to feel they are part of a team doing meaningful work. And these engaged employees are more likely to persevere during challenging times, heavier workloads, periods of strategy pivots, and company transformations.
By implementing these brand training ideas, organizations can boost employee engagement and at the same time potentially spur business growth. A focused employee communications effort will transform team members into brand ambassadors who have the knowledge and tools to communicate the company’s unique value.