“A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures” – Michael Eisner, CEO, Disney
What Mr. Eisner is saying is that the small things matter when it comes to your organization’s brand. Every interaction impacts the perception participants have of your brand.
When the topic of brand comes up in conversation, most people’s minds go straight to the outward, consumer facing side of a brand the side that customers see and interact with. But that isn’t a complete view of a brand; in fact inner beliefs and culture directly affect the outward actions and performance of a brand. After all, how many organizations do you know of that don’t have a single frontline employee that interacts with customers on a regular basis? I’m going to guess very few.
Let’s take another look at Michael Eisner’s quote. He describes a brand as a living entity, that is enriched or undermined. What a better way to grow and enrich a brand than by focusing on the people and culture inside the organization? And who better to facilitate an inward focus on brand than Human Resources, the task force in charge of recruiting, hiring, training and coaching the organizations greatest assets “it’s people” to become better teams and leaders?
In most organizations, brand ideology is embedded into some activities more than others. For example, it is standard in most companies to an orientation process, where new hires learn the history of the company and it’s beliefs. It’s in these moments that employees learn this is how we do things here lessons about the brand.
Outside of these few brand centered occasions it can be very easy to overlook the day-to-day processes and the implications they have on the brand. I believe it is in these small day-to-day activities that the most opportunity exists to build the brand into the culture. Ultimately, an orientation may make an impression on a new employee, but it’s the everyday experiences that the employee is going to live. If the stated company beliefs don’t match up with daily experiences, then which perception of the brand is the employee is going to take to heart? You bet! Their own.
While working with clients to help them continually improve and grow their brands, I’ve developed a simple framework to help them fully grasp the depth and complexity of the many ways that their brand is experienced, and also help them improve this experience over time.
Employment Branding and the Touch Cyle
I call it the Touch Cycle. It’s a great method for diving in and exploring the many touch points of your brand, and learning where you can make improvements.
Here are the steps:
1. Choreograph Touches
- List all the HR touch points large and small.
- To make this easier start breaking down all the activities that HR is in charge of in your organization (trainging, hiring, recruiting, etc.). Now start listing all of the interactions that take place within these segments of HR.
2. Listen and Watch
- Observe how people interact with your touchpoints. Are there any breakdowns in communication? Are they responding the way you thought they would?
3. Reinforce Behaviors
- Encourage on brand behaviors at each touchpoint.
4. Evaluate and Expand
- Take a look at all the work you’ve done in steps 1, 2, and 3. Evaluate the effectivness of the touchpoints you identified in step 1. Determine what’s working and what’s not. Were there any surprises? What insights did you gain from this process?Is value being added at each point of contact, giving people a reason to further engage? Are there touchpoints that we should eliminate? Are there areas what we should expand into and add new touchpoints to the brand experience?
I outline this process in detail on my blog “ The Brand Touch Cycle
Use this tool to help you identify, analyze and improve the brand touchpoints of your HR activities. Here are some things to consider during your analysis:
Speed – How fast do you respond to job inquiries or resumes sent your way? How long does it take for an internal issue to be identified and dealt with? In this day and age, speed isn’t hoped for, it’s expected.
Culture “ Are you proactively recruiting talent that is passionate about your brand? Or are you just trying to fill a job description?
Empower “ How easy is it for employees to send organizational complaints or suggestions your way? Have you built and intranet for collaboration?
Procedure and Paperwork Are all the forms, procedures and paperwork required of employees necessary? Do they align with the brand?
I hope you will take this as a challenge to explore the internal touchpoints of your brand and continually improve them to grow a better organization, one that employees are proud to work for and consumers want do business with a strong brand.
Photo Credits FreshPeel