Brand, Marketing, Strategy

Staff who read brand statements to customers from a list generated by the marketing department are never going to set anyone on fire. They might even drive them away. So just how do you get across your company values?

Ask Your People What They Think

After all, if you don’t get across your values internally how can you expect anyone outside your organisation to believe it? It needs real thought and effort otherwise customers will see it’s a scam.

The only way to do this is to engage and motivate your staff using the brand values. The brand should represent “how things are done round here”, and as such can be a huge differentiator in the marketplace.

Your People ARE Your Brand

Find out what your staff are passionate about. If their eyes don’t light up when they tell you, how can they be passionate about what they do for you?

Values are your guiding principles for running your business, so it makes sense to recruit people using these. Think about your recruitment adverts and employment process. If you’re clear about your expectations of your people you’ll have a better chance of recruiting and retaining them. Good candidates will have their corporate responses well rehearsed for an interview but it’s only when you cut through this that you get to see the person behind the suit. And, it’s only then that you’ll see if they’re a good fit.

More and more often marketing and HR are joining forces to create a plan that helps build a better, stronger business. Therefore, brand values have to be expressed in an employee’s working day and in the way they present the company. An example of this would be what your people say in phone conversations and how this translates into the customer’s perception of your organisation.

How To Get Buy-In

Communicating your values can be enjoyable, stimulating and fun but it’s essential to think about what your staff events say about your brand.

At the heart of most successful companies, and their value statements, is the need to work collaboratively with colleagues. Furthermore, it’s important to think about their interests and what engages them.

Ramming company statements down employee’s throats is clearly not conducive but still goes on. Rather, their needs to be a focus on employees experiencing the brand for themselves. Give employees the opportunity to share ideas and contribute to your ongoing development. You might find that informal discussions are just as powerful as formal suggestion schemes or forums.

Remember, it’s just as important to listen to staff as it is to customers. And, in doing this a real team spirit will evolve and your brand values get full buy-in.

Dos and Dont’s

Do think about promoting values in engaging and motivating ways, not as management speak

Do remember that most employees know exactly which values aren’t translating into reality, so give them space to feedback and offer solutions

Do remember the most effective values are organically arrived at by everyone in the company

Don’t forget that brands must be built from “the inside out” when customer contact staff are outsourced

Don’t forget that, no matter how much you spend on brand advertising, one bad experience with an employee can undo everything

Don’t fail to get senior staff out and about consistently communicating values informally

Don’t let your brand champions go unrecognised, reward those who live it!

If some of this resonates with you, you’re thinking of revisiting or reigniting your brand and want it to pack more than a punch for your business get in touch


Marketing, Marketing strategy, Strategy

We’re taught from a young age that most questions have only one answer. Exam questions often have multiple choice answers in order to steer us towards one solution. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t like that. For almost every problem there are several solutions and this is where innovations come in.

To make marketing more innovative you have to increase the number of ideas. Wacky, creative ideas that lead you ever closer to more radical solutions will make you stand-out and help achieve your objectives.

It’s only by producing great volumes of ideas that we can produce a great idea. Of course, it’s human nature to produce lots of ideas and then proceed to sort through them, analyse and sort out those with the most potential. Then the really promising ideas are examined from the point of view of feasibility, customer acceptance and profitability. If they pass these tests they move to prototype phase and only then are they tested in the harsh reality of the marketplace.

The interesting ideas should be kept in a database and allowed to incubate. When you revisit them you may find that you see a different way to adapt them or combine them into something worthwhile.

This all sounds like common sense. Yes? No. Most company innovation comes about in response to a single business challenge and once it’s resolved they move on.

Creating an environment where everyone feels they can contribute and generate ideas isn’t easy. Companies have to be comfortable that they may generate dozens of innovations only to find one solution. And then when those ideas didn’t make the final cut they should be archived and reviewed further down the line. Everyone in the organisation should feel free to suggest innovations in a climate of openness, without fear that their idea might be laughed at or thrown out.

The most innovative companies invest in several ideas simultaneously while carefully monitoring and testing them as they evolve. They chop the losers and pour more resources into the successful innovations. This can apply to products, services and even marketing campaigns.

Ideas to Innovate

Look at other great ideas and think of how you could improve on it or use it for something completely different.

Have several ideas running concurrently and work on one until you find yourself lacking inspiration. Then move on to the next one.  And on to the next. Suddenly you’ll find the inspiration you were looking for and you can go to the project that allows you to develop it.

Draw a picture of the problem and try to solve it pictorially. This often helps you see the problem with different eyes.

Set goals. Stretch yourself.  Force yourself to come up with more ideas than what you think you can.