In a transparent and interconnected world, the people in your organization are critical contributors to (or potential detractors of) your brand messaging. What brands are getting it right? Meghan Lynch, CEO of Six-Point Creative and Ken Meyers, president of Panorama Foods, discussed the benefits and pitfalls of the human element of brand building.
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Brands work hard to develop messaging that captures how they want to be known, but the actual customer experience often falls short of the promises. Meghan cited REI as an example of a strong external brand that is also backed up with the actual experience with their employees in their retail stores. Their employees are outdoor enthusiasts who can speak to the products from their personal experience, and they stand behind their products. They truly live out the promise that REI puts out into the world. In many ways, the experience of shopping at REI is even better than some of the messaging or promises that they put into the world.
This is incredibly important because any one of the representatives of a brand, from the CEO to the people who come in and clean the building at night can have an impact on the brand. Everyone now has a say in the reputation of the brand. Comments and reviews can either be a fantastic asset support bed for what a company is trying to build, or it can be a fire in the building.
The quest to try to manage a brand reputation really has to be distributed out to all of the human points of contact in an organization and beyond, including those who you can recruit as supporters and advocates for your brand. Everyone will see how a brand’s representatives behave and how closely that aligns with the message that you are trying to build and support in the marketplace.