As business owners, leaders and managers we often spend a great deal of time and effort into our ‘brand’. This includes our business brand, our personal brand and often in a wider capacity the brand of our industry and local business community.
We put countless hours and huge amounts of money into building our brand, ensuring the image is right, the consistency is there and the marketability of the brand is as strong as it can be. We know our brand, and many of those leaders who really have a strong understanding of, and synergy with their brand, represent their brand in everything they do.
They act in a way which reflects the brand, talk in language which speaks of the brand, dress in a way which reflects the brand and communicate in ways which suits the brand and its consumers.
So the brand is good, and we know how to represent it – but then there are the staff. How can you make sure that the people you engage in your business represent the brand as well as you do?
The people you engage in your organisation, whether as employee, supplier or contractor naturally become associated with your brand, and one thing I believe we can’t underestimate is the value of association and the impact this has on our brand.
You can work as hard as you like perfecting your reflection of your brand, but if the associations you keep in your business do not appear consistent with the brand you are trying to portray, you are undermining and possibly damaging the quality, consistency and overall impact of your brand by those who view your business.
At the heart of this for me is the people within your business. The staff, contractors and service partners you align yourself with who, by nature of their roles, act as an ambassador to your business and ultimately are responsible for projecting your brand to your consumers and the wider community.
Whether employed by you directly or indirectly via an agreement, engagement or supplier relationship, you need to be certain that they represent your brand to the extent you expect and the level you demand.
To do this here are some tips to help get things aligned:
-Understand for yourself the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours which define your brand. By understanding this you can then ensure all future relationships align with these core values, and as such reflect your brand.
-Assess new employees with these values in mind, to ensure they reflect the brand from the inside out, so to speak
-Think about your brand when you engage a contractor or supplier, and ask yourself this question “if my top customers knew this person / business was associated with me and my business, how would they feel?”
-Trust your gut and follow your instincts
Associating yourself and your business with the right partners can be a valuable addition and compliment to your brand, and conversely the reverse can apply.
Never underestimate the value of association and the impact that those representing your business, whether directly employed or not, can have on your brand image and reputation in the market place.