A good friend of mine, Kevin Huhn uses the above line as part of his business philosophy, and simply stated, when you are consciously branding then that is your intent.
However, at times when you are not purposely branding, you are still branding your business to your current customers or prospects.
Recently I called a large mortgage brokerage to follow up with an agent I had recently met at a networking event.
The person answering the phone asked me who I wished to speak with, and after I gave her the name she said “Yeah, hold on”.
I don’t know about you, but that response doesn’t sound very professional to me. In that moment, this organization runs the risk of branding themselves anything but what they had intended – a professional business.
What if I was a prospective client potentially bringing in large sums of money to their organization – this verbal exchange may be considered a bit too casual for this company’s intended brand.
The other day as I was leaving my gym, I passed by the front desk where employees are meant to sign in members and to greet potential customers seeking information about the gym.
The woman on duty was lying down across the countertop on the side of the desk talking to her friends, with no manager in sight.
She had positioned the membership card scanner and towels in a spot where incoming members could help themselves. This woman was obviously indifferent to greeting members as they arrived.
Leaders can’t always be around every moment or for every situation to ensure that their employees are representing the company and brand as intended. But, this doesn’t mean that they can abdicate the importance of training their staff to be a brand ambassador for the organization.
At this same gym, there are cleaners (being paid minimum wage) that go out of their way to help gym members, or even just make sure to smile and wish them a great workout.
One might think that someone in this job would not take an active role in representing the brand, because they are not necessarily working the front desk, or are a manager or personal trainer.
In fact, when you consider this situation, the person at the front desk is doing a disservice not only to the company, but to all the other employees that diligently represent the organization in such a positive manner.
A potential challenge can occur when this type of thing happens. If this indifference is not addressed by leadership, then the employees that are positive and engaging can start to question why they should even bother, when they notice the disinterested employees’ behavior not being addressed by management.
As a result they may stop being great ambassadors for the company, and from there it can spiral down.
I believe that it is vital that the mission of the entire employee base should be to represent the organization in a professional manner, no matter what their title might be.
I still remember walking into a McDonalds many years ago, where I was greeted by this amazingly motivated young man who had just started working there. He was engaging, friendly and very helpful.
A couple of months later I stopped by and noticed that he no longer smiled when he served a customer, and just seemed to go through the motions of taking and fulfilling orders.
In the beginning he was a great ambassador, but for some reason he became enrolled in showing up just like all the other employees, going through the trained steps of how to take your order and move on to the next customer, but losing the positive engagement he had previously brought to the role.
Points to ponder:
- How are you currently keeping track of how your employees are representing your organization, both while you are in view and when you are not there?
- Do you acknowledge employees that represent your organization well, and show them as an example to the rest of the staff?
- What type of training/re-engagement is needed to make certain that your customer enjoys a great experience when interacting with any and all levels of your organization?