The importance of brand culture
Over the last few years companies from all kinds of backgrounds, sectors and industries have latched onto the importance of having a strong brand. When they see the likes of Apple, Virgin, Coca Cola and O2 having such a strong presence in consumer minds, they aspire to be a little more like them, hoping that by following in their footsteps they’ll be just as successful.
So they bring in the agencies who specialise in creating brands either from scratch or building on top of what is already there. This might lead to a new logo, corporate identity, website and brand guidelines that inform everyone who works for the company how to apply the brand visually, what kind of language they should use and what they should say etc. Which is great and it’s important to have all of that. But the project shouldn’t end there. One of the key things to consider and never forget is your employees.
A large part of creating a new brand is capturing its values, its essence, tone of voice and personality. And that is about so much more than the visuals alone. The way a company’s employees talk to customers is what really gets across what the brand is about; the way they react to customers’ needs, the level of customer service they provide existing, potential & non-customers is what helps the brand’s essence and personality come to life. How so?
Let’s use McDonald’s as an example. When a customer visits a restaurant, they recognise all the various parts that make up the McDonald’s identity through the yellow arch, all the promotional items, the colours, the photography of their products, the menu, staff uniform etc. While they may try something new or stick with the tried and tested, they know exactly what they will be getting when it comes to the food.
What has a real effect on that customer’s perception of McDonald’s is the service they receive from the employee they are dealing with. If the customer has a pleasant experience then a better impression of the overall brand is created which can lead to positive word of mouth. But the opposite can happen if they suffer a bad experience. Which means that if you get a lot of people leaving with a negative impression of a brand it can have a very far reaching and damaging effect on that brand’s reputation, influencing public perception on local, national and global scales.
So what’s the solution? How do companies ensure that they make the most of the opportunities that a new brand will give them and really ensure it’s given the best possible chance to really make a difference?
In my opinion, companies and brands need to put more effort into educating existing staff with brand sessions that explain the company’s new position, tone of voice and how they should conduct themselves. They need to create a culture that really rewards people, motivates employees to do well and to become brand ambassadors rather than just employees. They should also look to hire the right people for jobs as the company grows, people who aren’t chosen for their qualifications but chosen for having the potential to embrace and amplify the brand and become a real asset and ambassador to all.
Those who really make an effort to improve brand culture internally will be rewarded in time. It’s just about making sure that everyone is on the same boat and pulling in the same direction and saying the same thing. This will help to create a brand that customers rave about.
by Sanj Sahota, Designer