Internal Customer Brand Engagement Part 1

Excellent external brand engagement + incisive, incremental, invested Internal Brand Engagement = Great Brands

Businesses seeking growth and relevance with theur cutomer base must consider the internal customer brand engagement they have with emloyees because numerous reputable studies have proven time and again the steep economic and social cost of staff disengagement, as well as to the business, although there is also a less often calculated loss, which is the potential engaged staff have for recruting customers and repeat business to your brand.

Question – how precious are your people? No, really , take a minute to truly consider it.  Did you know that staff that arent engaged have extremely high levels of absenteeism, ill health and astronomically high rates of errors and defects in what they produce? In sheer monetary terms, businesses could recoup more through savings in this area than could easily be achieved in growth in the short term. Internal brand engagement has a huge potential to transform a company and generate new business, good will and a sustainable positive social media profile.

Again, how precious are your people? Are they just numbers, costs and liabilities? Can you see beyond what they cost to what special resources they could be to your organisation? What does your leadership say about you, what does it say to your staff? Good leadership creates loyalty and attachment in staff, the same responses smart companies want to elicit in their customers. Why not start with your employees or frontline customers as we call them?

Excellent external brand engagement PLUS incisive, incremental, invested Internal Brand Engagement = Great Brands. Accepted and received wisdom, the former is the holy grail, with the latter often neglected. The following may sound like platitudes but as far as brand sustainability is concerned, this is serious business. So take a pew for a minute while I expound.

Your employees are your frontline customers – they lead the charge to deploy, define, and defend your brand. The truth they live of the brand will be whispered and echoed through every channel they are a part of and the way they feel about your brand will be what is telegraphed to your paying customers.

Internal Brand Engagement is important because your people are brand ambassadors and bespeakers in chief for your business. As such, they must be valued, nurtured and shown, not told your brand’s values. This is born out by the evidence but does not appear to be as intuitive as might be expected. It has been shown time and again that people leave repressive or oppressive work environments and/or leadership. No, you need your employees converted, onside and feeling valued. Once the pivotal role of people is understood and fully accepted, there are a  number of important steps to take to make this happen and maintain it, discussed in detail in Part 2.

Internal Customer Brand Engagement - your employees are you frontline customers and first line of defence of brand protection

The quest for brand resonance, resilience and power cannot overlook engagement of staff. Once considered in light of brand values, and with the desirable ultimate goal of aligning these values with how a business is run from day to day, this can immediately be seen as absurd. The people in your organisation are the first people great companies should seek to convert, keep converted and satisfied.

From a transformation perspective, this has several implications, not least strategies for finding and getting the right people in the door, retention policies and of course training and induction to the brand’s identity and values, because if your employees believe and live these values, they reinforce and enhance the image that is sought, organically. It just happens.

An easily accessible example here is Google and the headlong rush worldwide, at all stratas of skill, education and experience to work for Google. Google has not been coming out there, telling everybody what it is like to work for them; their people let out streams of information and anecdotes about what it is like to work for Google and in so doing, have helped to turn the idea of working for Google into legend.

Having said all that, even when everybody seems to be aware of this, many of the biggest companies keep falling short of getting the engagement necessary to make gains that are crucial for shoring and enhancing the brand. A change in approach and a number of critical steps can get you there, summarised in Part 2.

Chinenye Ikwuemesi

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