A great article in Marketing Management magazine this month Lippincott a branding strategy company identifies some great insights around why marketing is getting harder because of our customers amplifying every little experience they have, good or bad online. There is no so many forums that is is hard for a small business or any business to control our brands. However, I agree with Marshall and Mayer in that if we and our employees are inspired to work on something that we believe in, and we focus on the “how and why ” it can be felt by our customers.
Marshall and Mayer talk of active your brand to go beyond just the message. Here are the key concepts around how to develop a brand internally and why doing these things can potentially give you a better ROI than spending on marketing tactics externally. An Australian company Atlassian is leading the charge on this front. In Dan’s Pink TedTalk on Motivation, Dan shares how Altassian give employees the chance to work on anything that relates to our products, and deliver it during ShipIt Day, our 24-hour hackathon.
- “we give employees the chance to work on anything that relates to our products, and deliver it during ShipIt Day, our 24-hour hackathon. Been wanting to build that plugin, redesign that interface, or completely rethink that feature that’s been bugging you? You’ve got 24 hours…go!”
- Why do they do this?
- Foster creativity – When there’s no rules, anything’s possible.
- Scratch itches – Every employee has something that bugs them about our products, and ShipIt is the time to tackle it.
- Get radical, dude – ShipIt gives a spotlight and traction to radical ideas that might not normally be prioritzed.
- Have fun! – Traditions like ShipIt Day help make Atlassian a more fun place to work.
- Creating a movement – Employees are delivering the brand in their own way. When this has a shared sense of purpose that energies employees that creates a movement, not just a communication. This energy and excitement can be felt.
- Inspiring Belief – Making a story that cements the brand value for employees. Can your employees articulate your core brand pillars? Marshall and Mayer say that the answer is less than 50%. The idea is to translate the brand into a story that is aspirational and more than about money. The story needs to be authentic, real. The story is an anchor point. What are the emotional touch points? Employees need to be empowered to open up the organisation to engage customers. Touch points can be the criteria for membership and send a signal about the brand values. Brand immersion programs like training, emotional content, team collaboration innovations, workspace etc. “Progressive marketers ask themselves if they have an internal culture that can sense what it feels like to be a customer and respond accordingly. Culture and brand gestures are becoming more united.” Marshall states
- Great video from Madpow on creating a company culture.
- Enabling Action – Collectively build a valuable customer experience vision. Customer experience mapping.Customer Adovocates. Messaging play books, style guides, branding guidelines. Incentives. Using new methodologies at work including ROWE – Results Only Work Environment. Dan Pink states “Autonomy, mastery and purpose, versus carrot and sticks. And who wins?Intrinsic motivation, autonomy, mastery and purpose, in a knockout.There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. And here is what science knows. One: Those 20th century rewards, those motivators we think are a natural part of business, do work, but only in a surprisingly narrow band of circumstances.Two: Those if-then rewards often destroy creativity. Three: The secret to high performance isn’t rewards and punishments, but that unseen intrinsic drive — the drive to do things for their own sake. The drive to do things cause they matter.”
- Injecting Catalysts – Customer feedback, employee feedback, brainstorming, outside input, guest speakers, tools to collaborate, whiteboards, chat tools, open spaces.
- Assessing your brand honestly – is your team energised by the collective mission? Are they involved? Can you articulate it clearly? Do you have a customer experience map? Do employees know how to act to deliver this customer experience? Can you “unstuck” and spur new action with feedback and other activities?
“Brand leaders can’t just set messaging strategy and measure it. They have to dive into the organization itself and address internal barriers to achieving that strategy.” Marshall
This authentic connection to the company’s vision and empowerment of staff to interpret that to create really special customer interactions that are truly memorable and worth shouting about!