Build brands for employees not just customers

Too often I am asked to build brands with the sole aim of appealing to customers. While this is of course super important, it’s only 50% of what makes a great brand. A great brand is loved by both customers and employees equally.

In most strategy workshops the focus is all on “consumers,” who they are, what they want and where they are. While this is absolutely essential work, talking to employees and finding out about them is just as important.

On all my re-branding jobs I always look to sit with employees and get their take on things. I use Empathy Maps to dig down and find out how they think & feel about the brand/company. Sometimes my work reveals things that the board of directors don’t want to hear, but managed correctly this can be valuable information that is turned into positive action.

Building a brand for employees can help in many different ways.

Productivity is improved – We work harder and more efficiently when we believe in what we are doing and who we are doing it for.

Co-operation is improved – When employees believe in the company and have a shared goal, then co-operation is improved and teams work better together.

Ideation is improved – Engaged and motivated employees are much more likely to provide ideas for improvements to products and processes if they believe in the brand.

Wellbeing is improved – If employees believe in the brand they will simply be happier and less stressed in their work. They will be less likely to throw a sickie

I often find the best ideas for brand building come from employees. They often have the best insights into what is happening as they are hands on with the products and processes every day. Given the right tools and company structures they can be brand leaders too.

Creating a brand that both employees and customers love really does give it super powers. A brand is the company culture in its purest form and not just something that sits in the marketing department. It must work for everyone. If employees are not “living” the brand and don’t really believe in what it’s doing or stands for then “Brand” is just a hollow idea.