A brand is a promise. In practice, it’s about creating a true impression of what a company stands for, and then delivering on what you say you’ll do – without fail.
The loftier the promise, the higher the stakes when you break it.
I’m fascinated by how companies communicate and, importantly, how they fulfil the promises they make to employees and customers.
Here Ashley Freeman, Head of Sales and Marketing at employee engagement company INVOLVE writes for my blog to share the results from their recent study on all things brand related.
They’ve got a nifty infographic too, which you can find at the end of this article. I’ll hand you over to Ashley…
How to keep your brand promises internally
Because people own your brand’s reputation, they can build or damage it in a matter of minutes, especially in today’s digital world.
It can take years to earn back a customer’s trust. Perception, trust and loyalty towards a brand are influenced by other peoples’ experiences and the good, or bad, stories they tell. (Tweet this)
We defy anyone not to be disappointed when a brand that promises to ‘care about my world’ falls short with an inconsistent customer experience, for example.
So what’s the difference between those that deliver, and those that don’t?
It’s quite simple…your employees.
Fully-mobilised brand ambassadors have the power not only to deliver on your brand promises, but exceed them.
“Only employees can deliver the lofty promises that a brand makes to its customers, and involving your people in how to do that is the most effect way of guaranteeing a truly differentiated customer experience.”
What does the research say?
Research in our new Brand Report 2015 revealed the integral role employees play in keeping those promises, but also the unfortunate truth that half of brands are failing to effectively engage them.
Your brand promise is not a way of doing. It’s a way of being.
Are brands delivering on their promise, inside and out?
We wanted to look into whether brands are fulfilling their promises, internally and externally and what’s more, how they are doing it.
So Involve carried out a survey of 150 CMOs, marketing directors, brand and customer service directors within a cross-section of industries and sectors – FTSE 100 & 300 organisations, UK branches of multinationals and UK-headquartered non-FTSE 350 organisations.
The results were quite surprising.
While most senior marketing, brand and customer experience directors agreed that engaged, natural brand ambassadors will most powerfully deliver on brand promises, 50% admitted that they are failing to engage those employees.
While, 64% of those surveyed that spend over £300,000 on internal engagement (i.e. the converted) believed they were effective, 60% overall said that if they were given an extra million pounds for a product launch, they would spend less than 5% of it on internal engagement. There was a general consensus that internal engagement was ‘less exciting’ than external marketing activities.
This is a problem.
Why, if leaders agree that internal engagement is the secret to delivering on brand promises, are they so reluctant to invest in it?
Well, our research pointed to three main reasons:
- The poor cousin– Key stakeholders don’t put enough value on internal communications.
- Measuring nothing– The majority of companies fail to create engagement KPIs, so the impact of engagement in intangible.
- Share of wallet– Almost half of companies surveyed spend less than 3% of their overall marketing budget on brand engagement.
All of this points to the fact that brand need to reconsider how they value their employees, and invest further in mobilising their valuable force of brand ambassadors.
Only when companies make engagement part of their brand’s measurable success can they live up to the wonderful promises they make.
The battle for success amongst the world’s leading businesses is won or lost on people power. We can help mobilise your people to win that battle.
Post author: Ashley Freeman.
Thank you Ash. Does this resonate with you? As ever you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.
P.s. You can find more infographics on my internal communication Pinterest board.
First published on All Things IC blog 31 July 2015.