Our experience shows that many brands have been crafted with only the customer in mind and that the resulting “customer experience” does not in any way parallel the “workplace experience.” As a result, the brand – as it is now articulated – is relatively meaningless internally.
We believe every brand has a meaningful “Why” hidden within.
This hidden “why” is powerful because it can do as much internally as it can externally. Our job is to dig that out and shed new light on it, all with the ambition of delivering these five benefits.
1. Increase Motivation
When your employees believe in your brand, there’s a natural increase in morale and productivity. If employees feel good about the company they work for, the brand their efforts support, and the work they do, those positive feelings translate directly to a positive impact on your company overall.
What makes people “feel good” about their employer and the work they do? We think it’s when they see what they do as meaningful. What makes work meaningful to an employee? When there’s a personally relevant reason why it’s being done (i.e. the company has a compelling reason for being).
2. Increase Personal Accountability
If employees understand the brand promise that they work to support and how their efforts directly affect the brand’s success and fulfill consumer wants and needs, they’ll develop a stronger sense of personal accountability. In other words, they’ll take greater pride in their work and they’ll want to deliver better results. In a nutshell, they’ll care.
People care when they feel cared for. And this is not just about holding hands. It’s about caring about what people care about. People care when there’s a direct link between what they’re asked to do and their personal needs, values, interests, and aspirations.
3. Increase Word-of-Mouth Marketing
If your employees believe in your brand, they’ll be more likely to talk about it to friends, family, and anyone who will listen. They’ll advocate the brand online and offline to anyone who will listen, and they’ll guard it against naysayers. You can’t buy that kind of dedication, support, and positive publicity.
A solid “why” becomes a “social object,” or something that can be shared, talked about, and celebrated. It becomes “what” people talk and tweet about. At its best, the mere act of sharing and talking about a meaningful “why” reinforces its personal relevance and emotional importance to all parties.
4. Increase Communication
When employees feel like they have an important place in the brand’s success and they’re truly part of something greater than themselves (i.e. meeting consumer wants and needs), they’re more confident in sharing their thoughts and ideas. This increased level of open communication can lead to fantastic new innovations and opportunities for your company. It can also help to raise potential red flags before they turn into disasters.
We like to think of a brand’s “why” as the launchpad for all sorts of conversations and collaborative actions. It not only focuses thinking on what to do but also helps people vet ideas that go against the brand’s meaningful ambition.
5. Increase Talent Recruitment and Retention
Who doesn’t want to work for a company where the employees are motivated and happy? When your employees speak highly and openly about your brand, your company has a better chance of increasing retention rates and attracting new talent.
What could be more powerful than employees who believe in, and express, the why of your brand to the colleagues, family, and friends? When the endorsement of a workplace is heartfelt and genuine, it communicates far more to people seeking work. It not only helps draw the right people to the workplace, but it also means they’ll more readily become welcomed and productive members of the team.
For further reading on creating a more compelling workplace experience, download our Meaningful Workplace White Paper.
Emotive Brand is a brand strategy and design agency in Oakland, California.
Terrific article, terrific blog (I curated it on scoop it!). I think that the biggest mistake that brands make is not getting to what you call their “hidden why.” Too many just get to what and how. Until the why (or what we call the inner layer) is discovered, articulated and properly communicated, it is hard for a brand to achieve any sort of loyalty both inside and outside of its organization. Many think the inner layer is comprised of advantages and benefits. But these are ephemeral as competitors copy. I have no proof of this but my guess is that brands that have defined their inner layer probably have less turnover and an easier time recruiting.
Thanks for the kind words Jim. We always lead with “Why” at Emotive Brand. Start every engagement answering it. t is not easy for a lot of CEO’s and Founders to answer. Keep reading and sharing our blog. Thanks so much!