3 ways to promote employee behaviors that drive results


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Some of the brands you admire the most are probably awesome logos and color palettes. Visual identity is important, but visual identity is not what turns potential customers into enthusiastic fans. The secret to retaining brand advocates is employee behavior.

Many people think of a brand as simply having a logo and a website. But you don’t have A brand. You are A brand. Visual elements are undoubtedly essential to your brand, but they are only part of it. Your brand is much more complete. It’s the collective sum of everything you and your employees say and do — how your team makes decisions and behaves.

Related: Your brand is so much more than your logo. Here’s what really sets your brand apart with customers.

The power of an aligned culture

How your brand works on the inside is more important than how it looks on the outside. Your internal culture – the way your employees communicate and act – is what defines your brand. Culture is important because it is what determines whether or not your employees behave in line with the brand.

Of the hundreds of brand changes I’ve led with my team at Historic Agency, those who have struggled have all followed the same pattern: Their leaders ignored their internal culture until it sabotaged their brand. Meanwhile, customers who successfully go through the rebranding process do so with a culture that aligns to support the brand and drive it forward.

How misalignment undermines your brand promise

Let’s take a look at your most important asset: your employees. Your employees are the embodiment of your brand. Employee behavior speaks much louder than your visual identity and logo. When engaged and motivated, they produce meaningful, consistent and innovative results.

But when their day-to-day decisions and actions are at odds with your brand, you start to see issues that carry over to product delivery. Off-brand employee behaviors create customer experiences that don’t match what you promised them. It’s called brand gaps – the mismatch between your brand promise and what the internal culture really helps employees deliver.

Related: Want to Succeed? Define your company values

The result of brand shortcomings? Your organization loses credibility and engagement, and followers abandon your brand for a more authentic brand. Let’s say your brand promises great customer service. If your culture encourages employees to achieve sales goals instead of rewarding them for adding value to people’s lives, you will fail to delight customers. Your audience will lose trust and stop buying into what you say about your brand. You can’t fault your employees for focusing on rewarded behavior. They are simply driven by your internal culture, not what you say about your brand.

Before investing in your logo…

If you haven’t put in the hard work of looking after your culture, don’t fall into the trap of paying buckets of cash for a stunning logo and an awesome website.

My team has helped several businesses and nonprofits reclaim their brand after handing large sums of money to someone who built them a misaligned visual identity that didn’t fit the way their internal teams operated. or what the employees were delivering. The moment they called us to step in, these executives realized they had a bigger problem on their hands: a promise their brand couldn’t deliver, which deepened brand gaps and shattered customer confidence. clients.

Keep this in mind: no organization has failed because of its logo. But many have failed because of their internal culture. If you neglect your culture, it can become your biggest internal obstacle, stalling performance and disintegrating your brand.

Related: Bridging the gap between brand promises and customer trust

3 steps to promote employee behaviors that drive results

The success of your brand depends on your organization’s ability to shape the behavior of your employees and inform the decisions they make. Follow these three steps to establish the internal clarity your culture needs to prepare your employees to embody your brand and contribute to its success:

  1. Workshop your values: Every organization needs about 5-7 carefully crafted values ​​to guide employee behavior. Work on each of your values ​​and turn them into clear, specific, and enforceable behavioral principles that you can hold employees accountable to.

  2. Go big on modeling your values: Once you’ve clarified your values ​​and linked them to actionable behaviors, you need to model them. Choose one of the behavior-based principles you have developed and model it in a stunning way. For example, Patagonia shows how it puts employees and their families first by offering subsidized on-site childcare. At Historic, we model our value for fun by providing employees with an annual vacation allowance designed to help cover the cost of fun activities.

  3. Reward on-brand behavior: Encourage the employee behaviors your brand needs to accelerate performance. Cultivate an environment that rewards innovation and brand risk-taking. Rewards don’t have to be extravagant or expensive; think gift cards, free coffee, or even a staggered prize that goes to other team members every week. Rewards should simply reinforce the decisions and actions that shape the culture you’re trying to build.

Related: 5 Ways to Authentically Connect Your Employees to the Brand

Any marketing agency worth its salt can design a beautiful website, a stunning logo, and an engaging ad campaign. But those one-time efforts don’t create a big boost for your brand. To awaken your audience to your promise, you need the strength of an internally aligned culture. Such a culture will empower your employees to take brand risks, achieve results, and present your brand in the best light.


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