Changes come from inside the company
After defining the brand strategy, one of the major challenges is how to bring closer the strategy to the employees. They are the greatest strength of the company and the main brand ambassadors, and they must be familiar with its values and promise in order to be able to spread it further. The strategy must first live internally, and when the employees adopt it, only then those same values can be spread towards the outside. Many times brand owners ignore that because they are focused only on external communication, which is their main objective. They do not understand that change goes from the inside out.
The new brand values are best told through workshops because in such a way employees connect even better among themselves, and the feelings of belonging and loyalty towards the company get stronger. The optimal group consists of up to 40 people because in this way we can achieve better interaction with employees, higher understanding, as well as connection with the brand itself.
The workshop should explain what the new brand strategy means for the sector in which they work, that is in which way they will have to act in order to live the brand values. If employees don’t believe in them, then they can’t present the brand to customers. Workshops are also valuable because employees can use them to ask questions and openly discuss whether they see themselves within the new brand values.
Besides workshops, there are other communication tools such as team buildings, intranet, brand videos, newsletters, posters, and other materials. But the most important is that the first ones to live the brand values are the CEO and the Board of Directors, and that they become the example to other employees in showing them what the defined values mean, because if they don’t believe in those values, it will be very hard for the employees to accept those same values. It would be valuable if each employee receives a brand book, a written document that contains key elements of the brand strategy, and that will be useful as brand reminder.
All strong brands are built form the inside out. A good example is Virgin. Virgin is a typical branded house with over 80 businesses that are guided by the same 4 core values: service quality, innovation, fun and value for money. Those values are very important to Virgin, and they tend to select people who share those same principles. Virgin’s success is mainly due to the charismatic personality and strategic vision of the owner – Richard Branson. According to him, “convention dictates that a company looks after its shareholders first, its customers next, and last of all worries about its employees. Virgin does the opposite.”
They pay great attention to their employees, and they invest in them. Teaching almost 50,000 employees to live and act in ‘the Virgin way’ is a big investment, but it’s what Virgin does to protect its customer experience and its brand. They also organize parties during summer at Richard Branson’s house over the weekends or trips to Marbella or Euro Disney so that employees get to experience the brand (Virgin’s planes and trains), see their company colleagues and feel part of the Virgin group.
The charismatic Richard Branson is in constant contact with the employees and writes a blog on a daily basis through which he spreads the values of the brand and lives those values, and his behaviour is the living example to other employees.
After many years of experience in implementing the brand strategy I firmly believe that it is necessary to build the brand from the inside out. If your employees are proud to be a part of your company and they believe in the core values, the financial value of the brand will definitely grow.