Build a brand, inside out

“Make something people want” includes making a company that people want to work for.” –Sahil Lavingia, founder of Gumroad

Brands have moved beyond the logos that associated a product with a company. Brands are the whole experience now, the start to finish of the client journey with your business. In a world where customers are empowered, businesses need to understand that they are managing expectations rather than selling. Their brand ‘managers’ should be their employees, especially those who are first-line customer support.

Companies should strive to foster open, transparent cultures, where employee relationships are managed with the same care as customer relationships. When customers are in control, great customer service is a way to set one company apart from others.

A company driven to keep its customers and employees happy will try to consistently deliver on promises & exceed expectations. Happy customers tell 4-6 friends about their experience. Happy employees do the same. A smart company will recognise that its people are ‘appreciating asset’.

Build & promote a people-centric philosophy across your organisation. Find yourself thinking, if I were buying this product/service, what would I want? What would make me feel special enough to come back again and again? Do the same for your employees. What is going to make them show up, day after day, bringing their game faces and their best ideas? Staff work through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: once they are ‘secure’ – i.e. adequately compensated, have decent benefits, they look for the value-add. Is their skill set maximised? Are they appreciated? Is the work environment inclusive & diverse? Are they proud of the company’s output? These ‘non-compensation’ and ‘non-job’ factors are bigger than ever now.

Test the reception of your ideas by reaching out for regular feedback. Read your reviews and employee engagement surveys. Tell people how you’re going to address issues. Fix what needs to be fixed. Nothing will destroy loyalty faster than asking but not taking any action. A customer or employee who feels unheard will soon become disengaged.

Successful, enduring organisations have a clear mission, respect for their employees & customers, and have invested time, energy & money into building a sustainable culture, because they know this key fact: the best advocates of their business come from within.

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