Over the years, I’ve worked with many organisations, of various shapes and sizes, and I’ve often been surprised at how disconnected some of them seem to be internally. Particularly when it comes to how they face out to customers (typically the domain of their Brand and Marketing departments) compared to how their own people work and interact (where systems and processes are typically ‘owned’ between HR/People and IT teams).
I passionately believe that if organisations become better connected, it can only lead to improvements in performance, however you choose to measure it. And I believe the way to do this is to focus on aligning brand and culture. Get those two working seamlessly as one, and success on many levels will follow.
So, how do we go about it? It’s not easy, and it can take a while (depending on how far apart they are when you start), but it’s not that complicated either. Hopefully the following ten simple steps will help shape your approach. If you’d like more detail or help with any or all of them, then please get in touch.
- Bring your C-suite together
It’s important that this type of programme has the buy-in of everyone in your leadership team. And you really want support and input from those at the very highest levels.
- Define your purpose In the immortal words of Simon Sinek, always ‘Start with Why’.
- Define your guiding principles Once you’ve established WHY you’re all in this business, you need to make sure you can articulate HOW you’re going to make it work. In old language, we’re talking values and behaviours. But let’s not make these the same, tired and over-used words on a wall that everyone else uses. These can be a little aspirational but keep them rooted in reality. Which leads us to…
- Capture your ‘spirit’ Think about what all of this all actually means in the real world. Make it human. Bring it to life. Use storytelling. What is the essence of your brand, and how does (or should) that present itself every day? (Think of it as a good day but be conscious that we all have bad days too!)
- Consider ALL of your audiences Segment all of the different types of people that interact with your brand, internally and externally. That’s customers, employees and potentials of either – and create personas representing key groups.
- Establish where you are now Everyone needs a starting point to measure success against. Look at your ‘as is’ employee experience and customer experience. Identify the ‘moments of magic’ in both and do it by involving your people and customers.
- Re-design the experiences Do this in a way that reflects your brand, in the spirit of your organisation. Make sure they’re consistent across all personas and their magic moments. Do it together with your people. Remember, it’s your people who will deliver on all of these experiences.
- Coach and empower your leaders to lead in that spirit Cultivate the culture you want through the actions and behaviours of your senior people. If your managers don’t lead by example, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve even started.
- Activate your brand Get campaigning. Communicate. Promote. Celebrate. Do this actively and consciously, always starting internally, with your own people, and then projecting and amplifying externally. Encourage your people to help you. Build that brand from the inside out.
- Listen This isn’t really a tenth step – it’s important throughout. And it’s critical once you’ve started visible activity. Gather feedback and be prepared to act on it. Be agile. Learn and adapt according to what your people and customers are telling you. Use your intuition too. Actions often speak louder than words, so keep all eyes and ears open and your finger on the pulse.
And the glue that holds all of this together? Great communications. At every stage, communicating clearly and in relevant ways, will ensure you inform, entertain, nudge, reinforce and engage.
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