Living your brand – inside and out

I am digging these guys, Incite, who I  saw at an American Marketing Association luncheon yesterday. They help companies live their brand inside and out, especially within their operations, HR and employee practices.  These are my peeps.

As Red Slice always says, brand strategy is something that guides more than your marketing. It can help define the types of people to hire, the sorts of partners that are the best fit – and what internal policies you should put in place. For example, if your are all about “innovation” then should there really be a policy that you get fired if you try something new and fail? Or would there be 10 layers of bureaucracy someone has to cut through before their idea can see the light of day? If you are about “innovation” do you hire risk takers? Do you partner with firms who haven’t changed their business model in 30 years? 

These guys shared some interesting factoids about the dangers of your brand and vision not permeating your organization inside and out. In a Towers Perrin survey of 90,000  employees worldwide, 79% % of them feel partly or fully disengaged from organization. Worse, 8% are activelydisconected or  undermining the company. More than 70% of employees report they do not have a clear sense of their organizations vision or strategy (Branded Customer Service, Janelle Barlow and Paul Stewart).  And 43% of managers describe  they lack a clear understanding of the positioning of their own brand. (Branded Customer Service, Janelle Barlow and Paul Stewart)

If your own employees – the one’s who live, eat and breathe your company every day; the ones whose paychecks depend on your success – are not proper brand stewards, ambassadors or even know why the heck you do what you do, how are customers or prospects supposed to figure it out? And this is true whether you have 3 employees or 80,000.

Marketing and branding starts internally and gets conveyed outward.  It shocks me that more marketing departments are not in lock-step with groups like HR, who bring fresh blood into the company each year and paint a picture of the company’s mission, culture and values for recruits. How do they know what to communicate is they are not aligned with marketing and the brand builders? Worse, how does ANY department know how to act, what to value, which messages to convey and processes to implement if they don’t understand  the company’s DNA?

I love that these guys show companies the gains that can be made in productivity and eventually the botom line when an organization’s own people are aligned and can articulate the brand.  Of course, some companies don’t have a deliberate, well thought out brand – which means either they get lucky and everyone aligns as a happy accident. Yeah, right. Or you have rogue employees all spnning their wheels, doing their own thing, and trying to steer the car in every direction – resulting in your company being stuck in the mud while  potential customers jump on the bus of your competitor who actually has their @#$! together and is moving forward in unison.

Be a part of their national brand survey at, launching in December.

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