Values: Your Brand’s Underutilized Marketing Strategy
When it comes to marketing, your product is only the tip of the iceberg.
While crafting how you will present your product (or service) to the market is critical, there is much more to the equation than meets the eye. In most cases, the first people to interact with your customers are none other than your employees. As such, a well-crafted external marketing strategy must extend beyond fancy billboards, promoted posts, and social media campaigns alone. Instead, your marketing must include internal communication to help move your employees from just employees to brand ambassadors. They must evolve into true extensions of who your brand is and what your brand stands for. Only then can you fully stand behind the messaging you’ve spent time, energy, and money putting out to the world. Standing for vision and mission… on the inside Maybe you’ve fleshed out your mission and/or vision statements and how these will be integrated into your marketing campaigns, but have you communicated these value-led brand elements to the people on your frontline? Keeping your employees energized with the values of your company is an important marketing strategy for many reasons. First of all, an emphasis on values leads to higher rates of engagement and workplace satisfaction and an increased sense of belonging and understanding. Moreover, this translates into better customer service, as team members can see the bigger picture and understand how they fit into it. From there, they can naturally embody this in their customer engagements and interactions. More often than not, customers won’t walk through your door to simply complete a transaction. Rather, most customers will come to you in hopes of having a positive brand experience, driven by values that are not just stated, but felt.
Rather than showing up to work with an energy of clocking in and out, leading with values can transform the energy of the work environment. Though subtle, this can greatly impact how customers feel when they enter your store or how clients/prospects feel when your employees engage with them. Customers are more adept at understanding what is going on than we give them credit for. Whether consciously or not, people can read between the lines and uncover team motivations or incongruent messaging. How someone feels about your company comes down to trust and alignment… in other words, whether your words align with your brand's true essence. Developing an internal marketing strategy Simply put, internal marketing is the process of marketing your company to your employees. This means establishing and communicating a story about what your company embodies, how your team intends to show up, and how your brand’s work contributes to the world. The most important goal of internal marketing is for your employees to be aware of the types of actions that contribute to your company's goals and what's expected of them as members of the team. Employees must understand the “why” behind their contributions to the team and how their duties connect with goals by leadership. This ensures that there is alignment within the company and that employees are onboard and truly connected to the brand. Garnering feedback from your team While internal marketing means conversing with your employees, the conversation must be a two-way street. Only with feedback and collaboration can you establish alignment throughout all organizational levels and departments. In addition to gaining valuable insights from your team, incorporating employee feedback is critical as it results in a culture of co-creation, in which team members know they truly have a voice. In turn, this leads to an organizational culture of respect and active listening, which will permeate from the c-suite to your valued customers.
Values-led leadership is a powerful and effective strategy. While external strategies and tactics are often at the center of the marketing framework, you will achieve much better ROI when your carefully-crafted taglines and campaigns elevate a brand culture that truly exists throughout.