Your Staff Are Your Brand Ambassadors
Your brand is a combination of abstract and concrete elements: the way you answer the telephone, the user experience on your website, the smell in your office, the wait time in your lobby, the magazines laid out on your waiting room, the music in your restaurant, the parking space -or lack thereof- outside your office, the response time, the smile on your receptionist’s face, the $5,000 suit and matching tie you wear to work or the jeans and New Balance sneakers that give your associates a down-to-earth, approachable vibe, the signage system, the leaky faucet, the dim lights, the bright, yellow sign outside, the rug, the paint on the walls, the lock on the restroom, the life-sized carbon fiber orange cow on your lobby, the whacky cartoon on your door, the strong, no-nonsense logo, the long, european-sounding and barely pronounceable name, everything that stands out and lets people know what kind of company you are, what you believe in and who you want to deal with; that is your brand.
You’re The Best Salesperson In Your Company; How Do You Make Sure Everyone Is?
For those who are fortunate to work at what you love (and I include myself in that group), I’m sure if you could, you would want to tell your story to each and every customer, so they could see that spark in your eye whenever you tell them why you’re the best option, how it all started as a dream in a garage, and how you’re never going to let anything come between you and your dream of helping others get the best [insert your product or service here].
If you’re the company’s founder, you’re probably the best salesperson in your company (and rightly so, nothing can replace that embedded passion that really closes the deal, because YOU see the whole picture, YOU know what your company can become, YOU have the blueprint to the brand) but truth is, you can’t.
At some point your company is going to grow and you’ll have to delegate tasks, which means you’ll have to be able to show (and teach) others how to represent your dream, and treat every customer like you would. You have to be able to inspire your team and make sure they do justice to what your brand stands for. Think about your cable provider: chances are you’ve only spoken over the phone to an operator overseas who was trained if a few weeks and as soon as you hang up, they’re going to give tech support for an AC system company; but when you tell your friends about your cable service, you’re not going to talk about the company’s mission statement or the way the founders envisioned their business, you’re going to share your experience over the phone with a young fellow who was fun to talk to and really focused on your needs -or you’re going to say everyone who works at the cable company is a rude [expletive of your choice] who is counting down the seconds until closing time (and on top of that, they have a condescending voice tone).
Why? Because that’s the only portion of the story you got to see.
Every Team Member Is an Brand Ambassador
Every team member is an associate storyteller, a brand ambassador for your company. They are the face of your dream. They carry your brand on their shoulders. Are they qualified? Your brand is your most valuable asset. People pay for it. People wait in lines for it. People desire your product because of it. But why? Because a good brand tells us something special about ourselves. It allows us to achieve our goals. We see ourselves through it. We see what we can become thanks to the brand and we love what we see, therefore we love the brand.
Make sure you surround yourself with people you can trust with your brand. Be slow to hire and fast to fire when someone is breaking that pledge of service your brand should have with your customer. The consequences can be costly.