Brand Training for Employee Engagement and Business Growth
When new team members join an organization, the onboarding process and packets typically include branding standards. Employees are expected to recognize and use only the organization’s official logos, branding colors, taglines, and key messages.
Unfortunately, after that initial introduction, the branding guidelines usually are filed away, only to be reviewed when absolutely necessary. Unless they’re in the Marketing and Communications, Human Resources, or Sales Departments, most employees don’t think about the company brand very often.
The reality is that all employees should be supporting the organization’s marketing and sales efforts. Today, every interaction with a potential customer—whether digital, social, or in-person—impacts the public perception of a brand. All team members need to know the company’s unique value and brand messages in order to represent and “sell” the company.
Regular Brand Reminders
Successful companies recognize their employees as brand ambassadors. They have T-shirts, hats, mugs, pens, posters, screen savers, and other communications that remind team members daily of the company logo, mission, and vision. Companies committed to harnessing the power of internal brand ambassadors also invest in regular brand training and material.
Employee brand training can be as simple and affordable as monthly or quarterly e-mail reminders. A modest budget could include gamification and friendly employee contests to test branding knowledge. The goal is begin building a training and work environment where all employees can be proud and vocal advocates for the work they do.
Here are some tips to support various levels of employee brand training:
Adults learn best when they understand why and how the information they’re learning is directly relevant to their daily work, according to Malcolm Knowles, the pioneer of modern adult learning theory. In addition, showcase success stories that allow employees to see and feel the brand’s positive impact on customers. Spotlight the founders’ stories and the reasons they started the organization.
Share the company’s marketing goals and strategies with team members. Articulate a vision for where the company wants to go, and how everyone’s work contributes to that group goal. These communications give employees the vocabulary necessary for explaining the value of their work and the company to others. They also will feel like part of a team doing important work.
Be creative and proactive with social media, mobile platforms, video conferencing, intranet, e-mail, and digital platforms to enhance enthusiasm for the company brand.
Consider an e-newsletter to keep team members informed about customer wins, operations progress, best practices, and other news. Keep employees engaged with recognition and awards announcements, examples of team members “living the brand,” career growth opportunities, etc.
Incorporate brand training as part of ongoing talent development. Providing opportunities for professional growth will motivate employees to improve and elevate their work’s value and sense of urgency. Professional development programs often uncover the star performers who will motive others as brand ambassadors. When team members take greater pride in and ownership of their work, they will be more likely to support the company’s mission and goals.
It’s Marketing’s responsibility to ensure the brand is successfully managed. However, team members also must take ownership of their role in supporting the organization’s objectives.
Team members want to care about their company, customers, and colleagues. They want to feel that they are part of a team doing meaningful work. These engaged employees will be more likely to persevere during challenging times, heavier workloads, periods of strategy pivots, and company transformations.
By including some of these brand training ideas, organizations can boost employee engagement and business growth. A focused employee communications effort will transform team members into brand ambassadors who have the knowledge and tools to communicate the company’s unique value.
Guy Dilger is vice president of Product and Marketing atPlain Green, LLC. With more than 12 years of experience designing groundbreaking marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies and financial technology brands, Dilger is known for generating engaging content and compelling concepts that resonate with targeted consumers. Prior to Plain Green, Dilger held senior positions within fintech and retail spaces, where he managed national marketing campaigns and customer-centric loyalty initiatives for Sears and Kmart. Previously, he was part of the management team at Limited Brands, where his marketing work in support of Express brand included customer relationship management (CRM), e-mail, web-based programs and the redesign and relaunch of a private label credit card. Dilger has an MBA, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Economics, from Southern Methodist University.