October 17, 2014 Kevin Erb

Is your brand in conflict…with itself?

It used to be, companies had customers. Now brands have audiences. Existing customers. Potential customers. Industry influencers. Trade media. Basically, anyone who “experiences” your brand in some meaningful way on a semi-regular basis is an audience. And, the digital revolution has created an almost dizzying amount of new touch points for those audiences to experience your brand. This is good, of course, because it’s many new avenues through which you can engage your audiences. It’s also potentially bad, however, because it’s many new avenues through which you can confuse your audiences if you’re not consistent.

lightbulbIt’s very important, obviously, to find and maintain consistency across your many different touch points and toward your many different audiences. And while it may seem a bit overwhelming at first, taking a huge step in that direction may be simpler – and closer to home – than you think. The key to consistency in communicating your brand, then, may lie with one very unique group – a group that is both a touch point and an audience: Your own employees.

More often than not, employees are the most overlooked audience when it comes to a brand’s marketing, advertising and communications. The reasons for not involving them early and often in marketing can be many; the reasons for swiftly changing that approach, however, are just as numerous and important. After all, as this great blog post from Boston Consulting Group points out, “to become part of its customers’ lives…a company’s product and brands will first have to be ‘lived’ by its employees.”

Your employees are the first line of the most intimate and memorable experience audiences have with your brand. If they don’t deliver on your brand promise – especially because they’re not fully aware of what that brand promise is – the damage can be swift, harsh and often irreparable.

Take stock of your employee communications today – what do you do well when it comes to keeping them up to date, informed and inspired about what you’re doing? Where can you improve? “A tight linking of all the aspects of brand management,” BCG continues, “ensures that brands leverage their most significant asset – employees – to create more powerful and relevant brands for today’s changing world.”

In other words, the best way to ensure harmonious brand management across your many different audiences is to focus on – and engage with – the one closest to home.