Successful corporate branding is all about “promise makers” and “promise keepers.”
Your brand represents how people perceive your organization – it embodies your reputation because a brand is the “promise of a pending experience.”
As a leader, you have to lead by example and embody that promise too. When customers anticipate doing business with you and your company, do you know what promises and experiences come to their minds? Where does the opportunity reside for you to ensure that the experiences you hope to create for customers are realized by your team?
Staying out of the trap
Most of us are pretty good at the “promise making” half of the brand equation, but we can be sadly lacking in the “promise keeping” half. We tend to focus our branding efforts outwardly and overlook the essential component of insuring that our external promises are well-understood and kept by our internal teams.
If there’s a discrepancy between promises made to customers and the results delivered, our branding initiatives are squandered and our brand promise could be rendered hollow.
Why do we so easily fall into this trap? Consider the following:
- Business leaders are results-oriented and are often unaware how results are actually achieved.
- Executives don’t always acknowledge or recognize the work employees undertake to keep a brand promise.
- A lack of employee appreciation can cause marketing and sales initiatives to falter rather than flourish
Research backs up these claims
Experts from the Gallup Organization say customers are affected by their experiences with your employees three to six times more than any other marketing initiative. Gallup suggests aligning customer service goals with your company’s brand values so employees know exactly what the company does and their own role in the bigger picture.
And research conducted for the FORUM at Northwestern University by Dr. James Oakley reinforces the Gallup findings and may explain why employees have such a powerful impact on the customer experience.
The FORUM research revealed a direct link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, and between customer satisfaction and improved financial performance. Companies with satisfied and engaged employees have more engaged customers who use their products more, and that means an increase in the bottom line. Dr. Oakley’s research also found that even when employees don’t have direct customer contact, they still have an impact on customers’ behaviors and attitudes.
Everyone is responsible for delivering the brand promise
The compelling link found between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction offers leaders a powerful means for strategically impacting their organizations’ overall performance.
FORUM researchers found that motivated and engaged employees are at the heart of the customer experience and are crucial when it comes to building customer loyalty and satisfaction. They recommend these actions to help you keep your top performers:
- Encourage and reward exceptional performances in order to create a positive atmosphere at work.
- Reinforce desired behaviors to boost employee engagement and productivity.
- Build support for organizational goals and values.
Delivering the promise to employees
There’s an incredible opportunity for all leaders to enhance your brand, increase customer loyalty, and improve profitability by creating the same buy-in to your products, services, and organizational philosophy with your employees as we would for your customers.
It really all comes down to this: How can we expect employees to deliver the brand promise to customers if we don’t first deliver it to them?
The post originally appeared in a somewhat different form on OCTanner.com