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.