November & December theme:
“Choose One Thing”
Posted in :  Choose One Thing

This post is part one of a six-part series titled, “Choose One Thing” publishing in November and December 2013. If you’re like most businesses we know, you have that “one thing” from the past year that is still hanging in the air — it’s the one priority that, among all the others, would make the biggest impact on your business if it were fully realized. It could be competing in a new space or gaining more business from current customers. During this six-part series we’ll share the most common challenges we see among clients. If one of them is yours, let’s talk. We can help you turn your one big challenge into your biggest success for 2014.

At Fathom, we work with clients to successfully transform their brands into something meaningful for their clients, their industries and the world at-large. But the most important audience for their brands is often closer than they realize. After all, employees are the customers’ most tangible experience of a brand.

We tell our clients that if they don’t consider how to develop employee engagement with the brand, there’s a danger that their team will feel that it lacks authenticity. And if your brand lacks authenticity with your people, how successful will it be with your customers?

In fact, we’ve found that employees are among your most effective messengers. According to the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, the largest global exploration of trust with findings from more than 31,000 respondents in 26 countries, three key actions to building trust with the outside world are storytelling, a culture of inclusive management and leveraging employees as ambassadors.

To build successful employee engagement with the brand, follow these 5 steps:

1.) Define “brand” so everyone has a clear understanding of what it means.

Even among marketers, the understanding of what brand encompasses can be fuzzy. Don’t assume your team has a consistent definition in mind. You’ll want to convey that a brand is much more than a logo or a catchphrase – it’s the promise you make to the world.

2.) Conduct a brainstorming session so your team can share what they see.

Your team is more likely to believe in the brand if they are part of understanding what it means for themselves. You can meet in small groups by departments to brainstorm ways that employees see the brand in what they do. How might they change, or how do they suggest their department might change, to be more in line with the brand?

3.) Share what it means for your organization.

People unfamiliar with brand may not see how it impacts the ability to generate business. Discussing its practical applications, from pursuing new customers to identifying service offerings that align closely with the brand can help illustrate how the brand can truly serve as a “North Star” for your organization.

4.) Encourage storytelling among your team.

As part of efforts to build trust, encourage your team to become storytellers. We’ve found it’s effective when team members share stories from their own actual experiences that demonstrate what the company’s brand, strategy, values and culture mean to them. It helps in recruiting efforts, as employees share their company experiences, and adds credibility as you show off the people behind the products.

5.) Recognize those who do it well.

Create an award to recognize brand ambassadors among your team. Whether it’s something as simple as answering the phone differently or developing a new approach for working with clients, highlight employees when they do something that really embodies the brand.

Unsure of how to build an employee engagement program? Talk to us. We can help you formulate the strategy and activities to support this important work.

Other posts in the “Choose One Thing” series can be found here.

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Posted by: Louisa Desson
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