Here’s a recap from our recent Purpose-driven Community Talk; this month we unpacked the topic, ‘Inspiring employees to become brand advocates’.
The number one thing that Richard Branson says that keeps the Virgin brand as strong is the people behind it. “Your staff are the ones who will help you grow your customer base and keep your clients loyal,” he says. “They are the ultimate brand ambassadors. By hiring people who understand and are excited by this brand, it will continue to evolve and excite.”
Are you starting a movement, changing a culture, revolutionising an industry or wanting people to truly care about your brand? Start from the inside. The people behind your business are the ones who should be the most on-board, otherwise you might be building on an unsteady foundation.
There is no doubt that the brands that make history are the ones that have been built from the inside out.
I’ve found that your employees are a good indicator of the health of your brand. They can help you see if the things you believe align with what you say and do. If you don’t really believe in it (shown by what you say and do), how can you expect them to believe in it? If you can’t reach the inside, do you think your external audience will?
“Customers will never love a company unless it’s employees do first” – Simon Sinek
If you’re living and breathing the brand, then your employees will be far more engaged and committed to its purpose. They can see it in your actions and will trust your leadership. They’ll feel safe to put themselves on the line for you and your business. If purpose and passion doesn’t exist, it’s impossible to fabricate.
If you’re in leadership, it starts with you.
Leading with purpose starts here:
Do you have clarity around why you exist? Why did you start, why are you in this position? What makes it all worth it? Take money out of the equation, does that give you more clarity?
This is the core. We call it the seed. From this everything grows. Without this, your leadership may seem aimless to those following. And worse, employees will view their own roles as meaningless. A purpose can (and will) motivate, inspire and connect an eclectic band of people together for a common cause.
2. WRITE IT DOWN
Articulate how you expect each person or department within your business to play a part in this purpose. What is valuable about their work and how is it part of the bigger picture? How does it connect to them on a personal level? Employees can’t be brand advocates if they don’t understand the brand — give employees something to believe in and to work towards.
Create ease by providing the tools with a loose guide. It needs to be loose to allow some personal interpretation so that it can connect on a deeper level with each individuals own purpose. I’ve seen even the most engaged employees become hesitant to post on social media or promote anything work-related for the fear of saying the wrong thing. By putting a practical and not overly restrictive guide together, it will empower them to build on top of what you have already established. It gives them permission to be more.
Recognise and empower the ‘flames’. We call the employee that believes in and understands the greater purpose of your business, the ‘flame’. They are the key influencers who determine your team culture. Show them how their actions are expressing the company purpose and how they’re making an impact. Celebrate them when they take risks and nail it on behalf of the business (no matter how small). Hand over the megaphone and give them room to speak.
I look for the ones that are passionate about creating positive change; because you can always develop a set of skills, but you can’t teach character. This will also help those who don’t believe in the concept of purpose and who cannot connect with your brand, to move onto their next chapter. I’ve found that going on this journey helps bring out the best in people, it gives them fulfilment and benefits beyond the financial profit. Which is exactly what intrinsic motivation is all about. It’s a win-win and it’s how we choose to do business. It’s the beginning of building a Conscious Brand.
Keep up to date with when we are hosting more talks here.