Anyone even remotely involved with the modern marketplace today could tell you that a solid brand is more important than ever. With this understanding comes the realization that internal brand training is important for getting the most out of your brand promise—something that we covered in our last blog entry. But not all brand training is created equal, and without the right messaging and approach, training efforts may fall flat.
What Makes Brand Training a Worthwhile Investment for Your Company?
We believe that a few specific aspects are crucial in order to make the training experience something that really makes a difference for your employees. Here’s what we focus on to ensure the investment in brand training is profitable:
Create a brand training experience beyond a single event
Any employee training is an investment. When a company has already dedicated a significant amount toward external brand messaging, it can be tempting to cut corners when promoting that same messaging internally. Ironically, the cheap-and-easy route risks both a waste of money and of potential returns. Remember Bloom’s Taxonomy: a one-off training session where the learner reviews basic information about the brand and then regurgitates that information by taking an exam or passing a knowledge check can only have so much of an effect.
Equally important to the breadth and scope of the brand journey you provide is the consistency your brand messaging shows, throughout the training and beyond. In our previous entry on brand training, we discussed a hypothetical company sending mismatched messaging to their clients and to their employees. The result was a missed opportunity—those employees were unable to pass along the brand promise to the clients they interacted with on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for companies to make this same mistake, and it can threaten perceptions of the company’s integrity: internally and externally.
As William Arruda noted in Forbes Magazine, “Branding is the key to differentiating yourself from the competition, but if you don’t […] consistently live up to it, your branding efforts are pointless.” Every touchpoint must be driven by the same messaging in order to build your employees’ trust—in the company itself, in the brand promise, and in their own ability to deliver that message.
Create employee buy-in by bringing the brand to life
Every employee, whether they regularly interact with your customers on the front lines or work behind the scenes, has the potential to be a powerful asset for your brand. However, in order to see this benefit, each of these employees must understand what drives their company’s brand identity and be able to share it. Perhaps most importantly of all, they need to believe in the brand promise as well. An employee who trusts in the authenticity of a brand and wants to be a part of that promise will be much more successful in passing along that message to customers.
Many executives make the mistake of assuming that their employees already understand and believe in their brand promise. Some may make it a priority to inform their company of their strategy and direction but neglect to take that extra step to convince employees of the brand’s power. What they may not realize is that it’s crucial to “sell” the brand message internally—perhaps even more so than it is externally.
Effective brand training materials need to be just as creative and eye-catching as the materials your external audience receives. This means understanding what your brand can do for your employees and presenting that information in a way that truly brings it to life. Material that isn’t persuasive and engaging can’t—and won’t—have the same effect.
Weave your brand message into the workday
A compelling brand promise on its own is all well and good, but how does it apply to the everyday work your employees are doing? No matter how much an employee believes in their company’s brand, unless there are specific and actionable brand behaviors defined and established, that messaging can’t be passed on to your customers with consistency. Employees must be equipped to follow through and execute on that brand promise in everything they do.
When your brand vision is woven into the day-to-day activities in your workplace, you effectively create touch points for your employees and customers. This drives consistency and makes on-brand behavior instinctive for your employees. The most effective brand ambassadors don’t merely understand the brand—they live it.
Brand training can provide employees with what they need to live the brand by defining how they can translate their passion for the brand promise into what they do. Effective training defines specific behaviors that learners can begin integrating into their work and articulates why these behaviors make a difference.
When brand training is fine-tuned to create the right touch points with your employees and tailored for your work culture, it’s possible to transform your company’s relationship with its brand from the inside out. Your brand training strategy is the foundation for everything that comes next. Be sure to tune in next week where we’ll touch on some of the innovations out there you can use as a vehicle to set these best practices into motion.
Where have you seen the results of good brand training? Let us know in the comments below.
As always we love to hear from you, let us know how we can help with your next brand training project.