All the work you have done to build your brand rests on the shoulder of one person: your employee.
In their excellent book for small boutique businesses, Worth Every Penny, Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck tell us that
“without brand consistency you won’t get customer consistency.”
And that consistency comes from your employees, the interaction point between your brand and the customer. But rather than think of your employees as a group, think of them as one individual, because that’s how the customer sees your brand; usually through one person. Petty and Verbeck say that:
“If you have one employee, that person’s interaction could make up 100% of the customer’s experience. Your employee could change the way your customers perceive you, trust you, talk about you, and do business with you. Your team needs to represent your brand entirely.”
Very sobering. Each employee hiring choice is also a brand choice. The smart thing to do is invest in each employee so that they are worth every penny you pour into your business. This employee investment is not about money, but rather two things: selection and training.
Employee Selection and Brand Representation
Petty and Verbeck suggest six steps to building your brand’s dream team.
1. Look for Passion – Look for the most passionate people, the ones who love what you do.
2. Don’t Skimp – Pay for better people and you’ll get better results.
3. Don’t Settle – Good enough just isn’t good enough.
4. Filter, Filter, Filter – Think through all the touchpoints your employees will have with customers, and filter employees for those touch points.
5. Treat Them Like Family – Help your employees achieve their personal goals to make them happier while they’re at work.
6. Become a Role Model or Mentor – Look for opportunities to work with them more closely.
Employee Training and Brand Representation
Then take the next step in brand consistency, training your employees to represent your brand. Most businesses provide the standard training: job functions, technical capabilities, company operations. What’s usually missing is brand training. Cultivate your employees by teaching them how to be your brand. There are three critical areas.
1. Brand Foundations – Your company mission, brand promise and brand personality.
2. Brand Commandments – The “Thou Shalts” and “Thou Shalt Nots” of your business.
3. Brand Situations – How your employees should act like your brand when they encounter unexpected customer situations.
I recommend creating a Brand Aptitude Manual to properly train your employees for brand delivery.
Complete Brand Representation
The big idea: Your employees represent your brand. They will decide if you have brand consistency.
Your business thrives on brand consistency. The heart of that consistency is your team. Build your dream team and train them properly.
What’s your criteria for building your dream team?
How well do you train them on your brand?