Building a strong brand that powers the business is no mean feat today. You have to be highly relevant to a constantly evolving consumer who is also time starved and attention poor. Your products and services must be distinct to stand out in the sea of sameness of offerings. And you can’t stand still – you have to keep innovating and moving your brand and business forward. 

What’s the one superpower that any business leader should wish for to grow the brand and the business?

Quite simply, it’s people. Having a talented workforce that is aligned to the vision, subscribes to its culture, is inspired by it and is motivated to give the most of their time and talents to the organisation every day can give a turbocharge to the business that very few other ingredients can. 

What does this have to do with brand? 

Often, leaders think of brand as an external manifestation of the business through the brand identity and communications. But using the brand internally – within the business – to engage your people can be a true game changer which adds tremendous value to the business. When hundreds of employees buy into a shared vision for the brand and are acting in its best interests every day, the brand is strengthened and therefore the business is as well.

Here’s a simple logic chain of how it works:

Brand 🡪 Culture 🡪 Employee experience 🡪 Customer experience 🡪Business results.

Brand helps you define the reason you exist as a company; your very purpose and why employees wake up in the morning and are excited to come to work every day.

The values and beliefs of the brand are translated into the culture or “the way we do things here.”

The culture is the crucible for the employee experience. It is the way employees are treated and how they treat others including their co-workers, partners, customers and others.

Employees are responsible for defining, designing and delivering customer experiences built on products and services that delight customers. They have to collaborate, innovate and execute relentlessly to deliver. 

Customers who are delighted with the brand become advocates and drive business results through their own purchases or through advocacy. 

You can see clearly that a brand’s ability to deliver its purpose to customers and to be successful is in large part dependent on employees and their experience because when this element is weak, there is a domino effect on the business.

So what are the implications of this line of thinking?

No doubt, hiring top talent is a priority. More important, however, is how you treat the talent once it walks in through the doors. Companies that score high on employee engagement are as rigorous about actively managing the employee experience as they are about actively managing the customer experience. They map the “Employee Journey” just as they would map a “Customer Journey”. They determine the stages of the journey and do an inventory of employee touch points at every stage. Employee focus groups are convened to understand needs at each stage. The brand and its values and beliefs are then used to define and design the employee touch points. The process may be led by HR but Internal Communications and Marketing may partner with HR at various steps. 

There is an increasing emphasis on “employer brand” which means you have to develop and manage the brand of the company in the eyes of current and potential employees. Employees today are much more careful and circumspect about the reputations of the companies they join. They need the assurance and confidence of a reputed employer brand. 

The objectives of all these efforts are to use the brand to attract, engage and retain the top talent to creative competitive advantage. 

With this superpower firmly in your pocket, the sky is the limit.