Continuing with stakeholder profiles and info that’s of value in developing a brand – and therefore needs to be documented in your Brand Profile – I’ll address employees today.
After consumers, I’d say employees are the most important stakeholder group for most organizations.
One of the main reasons, from a marketer’s point of view, is that employees reflect the brand to customers and prospects. And not just salespeople, it includes all employees. That includes those who will never meet a customer unless that customer or prospect happens to be family or a social contact. Many companies actively encourage and incent employees to spread the word about the companies and its offerings.
So as ambassadors of the brand, employees must know the brand. There should be training. There should be informational meetings. There should be understanding. And there should be participation.
There is a new term being used, primarily within human relations departments. It’s Employment Branding. It appears that HR people have taken it upon themselves to establish and promote certain branding ideas that will make the company attractive and appealing to employment recruits. These are often, though may not be entirely, independent of the corporate branding program.
I’m sure the HR folks are feeling left out of the main stream branding activities and felt they had to take steps, even though their activities may be redundant, and possibly in conflict with the corporate brand.
So I suggest the employee plank in the Brand Platform be a co-operative effort. The human resources people should lead this effort, and the plank should reflect their main concerns: recruiting, retention and training. It should probably be their job to actually set up and conduct brand training for all employees.
I remember walking past a The GAP employee training center office in an office building and seeing the sign that greeted new employees as they entered the room.
It stated: “YOU are the brand”.
If this is to be so in your organization, make sure your brand platform reflects it.