“Employees First”

Just finished reading Bob Lamons’ new book The Case for B2B Branding – Pulling Away from the Business-to-Business Market.  It’s a great overview of B2B branding, complete with many informative & insightful mini-cases.

And I was glad to see Bob recognize employees as the most important audience for a company’s branding message … even before customers.

Why employees first?  According to Bob, employees must truly believe in your branding strategy for it to have a chance at success.  How can they sell it (your brand concept) or deliver it to customers if they themselves don’t buy-in to it?

Every time someone (customer or prospect) comes into contact with one of your employees, the outcome of that contact represents “a chance to build or destroy your brand.”  Makes sense, therefore, that employees be the first audience when it comes to introducing a new brand strategy or a new product, service, or program.

Employees first — sounds logical enough.  Yet I know from experience that sound logic isn’t always applied in organizations.  I’ve witnessed situations were employees were an after-thought.  (“Our new ad campaign kicks-off tomorrow.  By the way, shouldn’t someone tell our employees?”)

A good branding strategy, like charity, starts at home.

2 Comments

  • Jonathan Dampier November 22, 2005 Reply

    This is so true and so simple yet so overlooked. More times than not, it is the rank and file employee who are the brand to us, the customer…the clerk at the check-out counter, the operator at the call center, etc. Yet companies continue to pour millions of dollars into advertising campaigns and rebranding exercises. All it takes is one good or bad experience with their rank and file employee for you to forget what their latest commercial said and make up your own mind.

  • Michelangelo Celli November 3, 2005 Reply

    Interestingly, we have discussed that a lot with our clients. We describe it to CEOs as the “first marketplace”. Meaning that market inside the walls of the company. Cool.

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