Time to brand the staff
Words by Francis Kahihu
Employers have gotten into the craze that is branding. There is a fight for space with every employer seeking to be noticed. The development of sustainable brands seem to have gripped many CEOs that they would do whatever thing possible thing to ensure their brand shines out there. Many companies are being established to support with the certification of the brands and this has continued to exert pressure for enhanced branding. Companies are suddenly changing their corporate colors, refining their logos and even shifting physical locations to neighborhoods they consider more representative of their brand. It seems like a race against time. Which brand will eventually carry the day?
As this entire branding craze sweeps the market, there seems to be one great omission. The concentration seems to be on the product. Little or no attention is being given to the producers of the product. There has not been a keen interest in branding the staff, except branding them with T Shirts and insisting they must drive cars branded in company colors. The company logo becomes the most important thing for the managers that they fail to appreciate who carries the inside information about the quality behind the brand name.
A comprehensive brand management strategy is one that considers all aspects of branding especially the role that staff play in promoting the brand. I have had some engagement with a staff of a certain blue chip company who advised me not to purchase a certain product from his employer as it only had a great name and price tag yet the quality was similar to that of a competitor. I heeded the advise and purchased the competitor’s product and sure enough, I spent less for the same quality of product. This served to advise me that as much as companies spend so much in advertising, they should consider the level of staff branding since staff are the real marketers. They confirm the real quality of what has been packaged and when they express doubts to clients, regardless of how flashy the adverts are, the clients will take the staff more seriously than the advert.
Some of the aspects of staff branding that could be considered relate to development of institutional values as a team. All the staff should subscribe to certain minimum organizational values that should be developed by the team. This helps lay the foundation for performance and engagement among staff and with the outer world. The staff should be made to appreciate why the company behaves in certain ways, why it relates to certain parties and not with others.
An appreciation of staff welfare is another critical component of staff branding. Employers should show concerns about the welfare of their staff so that staff feel more important than the products. With this, morale rises and staff willingly talk about their employer to anyone who cares to listen. They go out of their way to market the company’s products. Researches indicate that word of mouth plays a greater role in marketing than commercials especially with regard to quality and reliability.