Branding and Your Most Important Asset – Your Employees

One of the most commonly used buzzwords in business today is branding. When most of us think of branding, we think of our logo, the collateral it’s printed on and the advertising we do to get our company name or brand in front of our customers and prospects. An element that plays a role in conveying our brand, yet is seldom considered when protecting it, is our employees.

Employees’ attitudes, actions, and personalities can positively or negatively impact a company’s brand. Whether you have the best known brand in the world or you’re working to build one, it’s important to train your staff as to how you want your brand represented.

Here is an example. For two years, I had been providing promotional products to a large university. This had been a great client; however, I realized that I was only receiving a very small percentage of their budget. So, we began to work diligently to gain a bigger share, and finally we received a personal introduction from our contact to the head of event planning for the school. We completed a few small merchandise projects for the contact, which went smoothly. Each time, our contact communicated they were pleased with our performance. Soon thereafter, however, the bottom fell out, and we missed the delivery of a product for an annual golf tournament the university sponsors every year. The product was a gift with the school’s logo on it. It was to be given to attendees representing major companies from across the country who traveled to Rhode Island to play in the event. Unfortunately, the national shipping company we used incorrectly routed the product to Florida. Our contact, who was new to the position, was sure that she would lose her job because of the problem.

In an attempt to salvage our relationship with this client and the potential for thousands of dollars in future business, we needed to turn this into a “win-win” situation. The plan I presented was to supply another gift at no cost to the client. Although it would not have their school logo on it, the item had a much greater value than the one they originally purchased. This gesture cost my firm over $1,000. In addition, I recommended they use this situation to their advantage by suggesting that when the original gift arrived, they send it out after the tournament to all the participants with a thank you for participation. We also offered to pay the cost of this mailing.

The president of the school loved the idea, my contact became a hero for using our ideas and I saved a client, as well as future revenue and my company’s brand-our reputation. Make sure your employees are representing your brand with long-term goals in mind. Brand is much more than the stationary it’s printed on; it’s what your company stands for.




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