If your life was a rom-com, there would be a scene where you ran down the beach into the arms of your brand. Or, your brand would be standing outside your bedroom window holding a boombox blasting “In Your Eyes.” If you were Demi Moore, your brand would be your ghost. If you’re a bird, your brand is a bird.
But seriously, imagine being in love, real L-O-V-E, with your brand. Imagine if your employees gushed about your brand to their best gal pals, and told all their buds that it’s the one. Like any other love, romancing your brand takes time, effort, and attention. Build a stronger brand – inside and out – with some TLC.
Start From Within
Every relationship needs a strong foundation, otherwise it’s left standing on shaky ground. If you try to build your brand from the outside, focused just on flashy ads and hollow messaging, it won’t take long for people to notice the lack of substance. 78% of employees don’t believe their leaders have a clear direction for the organization. When leadership fails to include their employees in brand building, employees are not invested in the brand, they don’t feel like they’re a central part of the brand’s identity. Organizations that fail to engage with and market to their workforce are missing out on the best possible brand ambassadors you could find.
When you’re in a happy relationship, you can’t wait to tell everyone about it. You share photos, tell stories, and display sentimental items for everyone to see. You want all your friends to think your partner is as great as you do. When your employees are in love with your brand, they will do the same thing. They’ll be excited to tell people what they do for a living, where they work, all the wonderful things their company does. Happy employees are loyal employees, and these public displays of affection all contribute to a positive brand identity.
We all know those couples that are so in-sync. They finish each other’s sentences, they know what the other is thinking, they truly “get” each other. This kind of connection starts from a deep understanding of the other person. Understanding is often lacking within an organization and this lack is what makes employees question the direction of the workplace. When a business is built on a strong core, reflecting a well-developed mission, vision, and value system, then employees are engaged. Simon Sinek describes what this kind of strong company culture would look like, explaining “there’s a sense of cause so just that people are willing to sacrifice for it…they’d rather be here and a part of this. ‘It feeds my soul… my work has meaning.’”
When you are passionate about your brand, everything you do is a labor of love. Take for example the way employees at Facebook are active contributors to their overall company culture. Artists within the company create posters that spark conversation and reflect the mission of the organization overall. These works of art include posters, installations, books and paintings, providing touch-points throughout the workday. This creative outlet is very special, as the artists have total control of the form, content, and message, allowing an organic excitement and enthusiasm to flourish. It’s kind of like having a picture of your partner on your desk, you get to feel that love every time you see it.
Providing opportunities for employees to contribute to the culture can help them feel more satisfied in their role and grow brand loyalty. Over two-thirds of employees are experiencing burnout – more than 66% of workers feel taken for granted, overworked, and under-appreciated. Reinforcing the vital role your team plays in the overall success of the organization can help them feel more fulfilled, improve work quality and retention, and create a more positive workplace.