One of the most commonly used buzzwords in business today is branding. When most of us think of branding, we think or our logo, the collateral it’s printed on and the advertising we do to get our company name and brand in front of our customers and prospects. An element that plays a role in conveying our brand, yet is sometimes not considered when protecting it, is our employees.
Employees, their attitude, actions and personality can positively or negatively impact a company brand! Whether you have the best-known brand in the world or you’re working to build one, it’s important to train your staff as to how you want your brand represented.
Several years ago, my company experienced this exact scenario. For two years, I had been providing promotional products to a large well know university. This had been, and still is, a great client, however, I realized that I was only receiving a very small percentage of their budget for promotional products and sportswear. So, we began to work diligently to gain a larger share and finally we received a personal introduction from our contact to the head of event planning for the school. We completed a few small merchandise projects for the contact that went smoothly. Each time the client communicated that they were very pleased with our products and our performance.
Soon thereafter, however, the bottom fell out and we missed the delivery of a product for an annual golf tournament the university sponsors every year. The product was a gift with the schools logo on it. It was to be given to attendees representing major companies from across the country who traveled to Rhode Island to play in the event. Unfortunately, the national shipping company we used incorrectly routed the product to Florida. Our university contact, who was new to the event planning position, was sure she would lose her job because of the problem.
In an attempt to salvage our relationship with this client and the potential for thousands of dollars in future business, we needed to turn this into a “win-win” situation. The plan I presented was to supply another gift at no additional cost to the client. Although it would not have their school logo on it, the item had a much greater value than the one they originally purchased. This gesture cost my company over $2000.00. I addition, I recommended they use this situation to their advantage by suggesting that when the original gift arrived, they send it out after the tournament to all of the participants, with a thank you letter for their participation. We also paid for the cost of the mailing.
The president of the university loved the idea; my contact became a hero for using our ideas and I saved a client, thousands of dollars in future revenue and my company’s brand-our reputation.
Make sure your employees are representing your brand with long-term goals in mind. Brand is much more then the stationary it’s printed on, it’s what your company stands for.