Inward outward

Inward outward

According to a report by the Hay Group published in Fortune magazine, most of the world’s most admired companies know that their success depends on their business being aligned around a common corporate culture.

Companies are becoming increasingly aware that sending the right messages to employees is as critical as connecting with their customers. Employees have to link directly to the brand values of the company, recognising that true branding starts within.

The fly in the soup is that most companies have little concept about brands, so it is difficult to translate brand values internally because they do not exist. They will dedicate hours of time at bosberaads trying to figure mission statements and company values, arriving at tickets to the game like honesty, integrity, loyalty, innovation etc. From there, time is spent on defining or positioning the company. You come out with more qualifiers to business like competitive price, quality product and delivered on time. Come on, why else would customers buy from you. I mean, have you ever heard anybody say: “We are the most expensive, our quality is rubbish and it’s unlikely that we’ll deliver on time”.

The fundamentals – getting to grips with your brand positioning and brand values – are entirely missed. What is it then that we are asking employees to connect with, to get passionate about. What are they ambassadors for?

Look inward before looking outward.

Forget about logos and taglines and attempts at pay off lines until you understand your brand initimately (from the customers perspective, not your). And remember that a brand is not a product, logo or symbol. It’s intangible, it’s about how people experience your company. Once you have got that right, remember to sell your brand internally and get your team believing in your products and services so that they are 100% behind your brand.

And then make sure that your employees actually live the brand. Can you imagine a kulula.com stewardess being grumpy? Or a lethargic McDonald’s counter hand?

While there are some nuances, we use very similar marketing techniques to promote a brand internally as one would externally. Never compromise on truly understanding your brand and then getting both customers AND employees to buy in to it.

Gary Hendrickse
CEO Sherpa
March 2008

Sherpa Brand & Design Agency
admin@sherpa.co.za