Are your employees sharing the love?

What are your employees sharing?

Your brand’s reputation starts within.

When I was a teenager, most of my friends had restaurant jobs. My friend Eric said he would never eat at the restaurant where he worked because the disgruntled chef there would occasionally use the garnish bin in the kitchen as a toilet.

This story has importance for two reasons. One: don’t eat that garnish on your plate. The other: What are your own employees saying about your company’s product or services?

That may be a particularly nasty example, but it isn’t that far off from the guy who works at an auto plant who says he wouldn’t buy one of their cars because his co-worker on the assembly line is intoxicated every day. Or the girl who works at the upscale boutique who says that you can find the same clothes, for much less money, at other stores online.

Yes, customers may say these sorts of things everyday on Facebook and Twitter, Trip Advisor, Yelp, etc. But when your own employees are not ambassadors of your company’s product or services, you have a serious problem that needs to be dealt with.

Before you can start to build your brand’s reputation with the outside world, you need to take a look within at your culture and values and find out what your employees think. Your employees are your greatest asset—one that is frequently overlooked. Companies can try to paint a rosy picture of their products and services to the outside world, but all the paint in the world can’t hide an internal problem with your culture. It’s the core of your brand, and if something is rotten inside, customers will avoid you like …a garnish.

So, how do you find out how your employees feel? Ask them. Get out of your office and get onto the floor. Task your HR department with taking a survey. Start an internal company web site board, suggestion box or anonymous phone line and ask employees if they would recommend your product. If they wouldn’t, find out why and then fix it.

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If you love it so much why don’t you marry it

Who do you love?

Brand Keys does a consumer study twice a year assessing brand loyalty. Theses are brands that have created consumer partners who follow them and buy from them time and time again.

We know who they are, Apple, Amazon, Tide, Dunkin Donuts, Purina, Tom’s of Maine, Grey Goose, Scott Trade.

Why do consumers love them so much they want to marry them?

Their products are great products that understand and meet the needs of their buyers. That’s trickier than it sounds, because most brands are out in the marketplace trying to be everything to everyone. These beloved brands know who they are and know who their buyers are.

Loyalty comes from a combination of rational plus emotional. Buyers become loyal followers because the products give them what they need and they love how they feel when they use them.

Brand loyalty isn’t that different from a happy marriage. You have this great person, who maybe is not vastly different from all the other people in the world, but there is something about them that makes them special. They listen to you, meet your needs and you love how they make you feel.

And of course there can be divorces in the brand world too, like with BP who was the leader in brand loyalty among gas companies, until recently. Or reconciliations like when Coke tried out New Coke and then saw the light.

So, if your brand isn’t feeling the love, take a look within and figure out how to start being a better partner. Hopefully they’ll like it enough to put a ring on it.

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Information overload? Who wants pie…

You know when your computer is acting kind of sluggish and you think that the memory must be too full and you go and check your C drive and see that little pink slice of pie showing what space is actually used?

That’s what my brain feels like.

They say that we only use about 10% of our brain capacity. My 10% is full today. Decided this week to take on learning Photoshop— on top of my daily consulting work, keeping up with facebook, webinars, building a website, monitoring tweets, blogs, google analytics, and news feeds, comparing the droid to the iphone and BP.  I’m on information overload. And it’s not just me. Everyone is feeling it. There’s a reason that Farmville has 83.75 million monthly active users. People need a break from information. They just can’t fit anymore of it in.

The point I want to make here while I am eating up a little of your slice of brain pie, is that people are on information overload and if you want your company’s message to cut through 4 and 20 twitterbirds, it needs to be more targeted and engaging than ever before.

who wants pie?

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