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Where Are You Spending Your Branding Efforts?

Photo: Nik Shuliahin

Communicate

Where Are You Spending Your Branding Efforts?

Many companies spend lots of effort and sometimes lots of money in promoting their brand to get their message out there.

 

A lot of time and effort is put into ensuring that the message of the brand promise is delivered to the target market, and the money spent is usually in hundreds of thousands if not millions.

Do they need to do that?

Well, of course they do, in some way or form.

 

Their – your – target market needs to know the essence of your brand, i.e. what it stands for and what it can do – and what problems you solve.

But here’s the thing.

The irony is that precious little money and time and effort is spent internally educating and motivating the employees and team members to fall in love with the brand. And ensuring that the same are able to support and deliver on the brand promise.

“This is of course setting oneself up for failure.”

Because when all this money is spent externally, but not much money is not spent internally, companies sometimes can’t work out why all their effort is not delivering on their brand promises.

Let’s take an example of a bank in Malaysia.

This bank seems to be doing well as it has won some paid awards in recent years (and it does not stop irritatingly reminding its customers of this every time they call the bank’s hotline). A casual observation will show that this bank will continue to do well in the short term, as it hires a lot of young, pretty and good looking people to handle their sales teams and processes –  and trains them in aggressive sales tactics.

Their income occurs in bursts, because as these attractive sales people bring in the sales, the back end cannot cope with sudden volumes during the many promotional periods as the hiring process for the back end is focused on the day-to-day and not the seasonal sales.

As a result, frustration occurs all around, and the good ones leave for greener pastures while short-term band-aid fixes are sought for those remaining behind. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not. Worse, the customers are getting unhappy.

Now the bank is faced with a dilemma; they’ve spent all this money on marketing and hiring attractive people, training them with aggressive sales tactics, but the delivery is still falling short, and customers are leaving.

What would they do, typically?

They invest in customer service training, and trust in the customer service playbook – the employees are now in this customer centric training program or initiative, and again, they are externally focused on delivering that brand promise.

Again, another burst of success, and then things dip again – this time, a convenient scapegoat is found, either in bad training, or bad attitudes of trainees. More good ones leave, and those not performing are encouraged to slowly leave as well – and a fresh batch of attractive, young, pretty and good looking people are hired.

Over time, what will happen is that the bank slowly loses its position, and new strategies have to be thought up.

In the meantime, the bank’s reputation is affected, and customer trust is reduced, and the potential of the bank to reach its fullest potential is gone.

So is the bank doomed?

No.

The question that the bank needs to ask itself, is this: If we’re focused on all these brand promises in our external marketing, what are we doing internally?

The bank needs to do an internal evaluation of itself by asking its employees – what would make them happier at work?

It may seem odd, but it’s actually perfectly logical. Surely it’s not a stretch to realise that happy employees mean happy customers, meaning happier outcomes.

Put it another way, for you for example, with all the money and effort that you may be spending on branding externally, don’t forget to invest substantial time effort and money on your internal resources, your team members – because they are the ones that make the difference.

Because you see, the more engaged and happier they feel with their lives and their progress at work, the better the outcomes for the customers. Delivery of your brand promises will follow, and you’ll get better customer experiences, and better customer retention.

 

Originally from the UK, Ian has lived and worked in Southeast Asia for nineteen years. The last eight of those have been spent coaching and mentoring over sixty executives and business owners. Ian's specialist area is helping executives in mid-market growth firms improve their strategy and revenues, retain their key team members, improve execution and build cash.

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