If you are a manager, your employees think of you as the company they work for. Are you living your company’s brand? Or to be more precise, are you behaving your brand? Behaving your brand begins with the management and leadership of a company.
We can’t observe what someone thinks or feels. We can only observe behavior — a person’s words, tone of voice, body language and actions. It is not enough to think you live your brand. When you behave in a way that matches your company’s brand values, your employees are more likely to believe the company lives up to its brand promise. And you become the most important advocate for a brand-based culture.
Great companies invest significant resources in developing a brand, which means clearly identifying their core values and principles. These values empower all the employees of a business to behave in a common way that communicates the company’s brand. The CEO and senior management have the responsibility of leading this charge as the greatest supporters of the brand message.
How are you training, measuring and recognizing your employees for living the brand? If your brand attributes include adjectives like “friendly,” “honest,” “fair,” and “respectful,” do you measure and recognize your employees for the times their behavior reflects those values? Are you behaving in line with those values? And what about those behaviors that are opposite to your brand values? Do you coach your employees to modify their behaviors?
Internal programs designed to reward and recognize those employees who are living their company’s brand often include concrete examples of specific expected actions. This helps employees clearly understand what behaviors they should be exhibiting. Reinforcing these behaviors paves the way for a sustainable brand-based culture that emanates externally as well.
Outwardly communicating your company’s principles and values also reinforces the expectations of behaviors in support of those values. Companies such as The Container Store and Whole Foods identify and explain their core values on their websites. This transparency establishes accountability for all employees to live and deliver the brand promises.
Living up to a brand is hard work, but it makes all the difference between a meaningless slogan and a strong company culture. It starts with you. Behave yourself.
Thoma Thoma has worked with businesses for more than 25 years to help them develop their brand values and teach them how to live those brands as well. To learn more about branding your business, and behaving your brand, contact us.