A brand experience is the total experience one has with an entity and the perception one has of that entity. One of the key areas where this experience is strengthened (or destroyed) is the way the brand’s eco system (its’ consumers, partners, vendors) perceive the employees of the brand they interact with.
And this has far greater an impact than the advertising of the brand.
In Asia current corporate cultures are still largely governed by command-and-control practices that alienate many of today’s employees. Whereas employees are (and should be) the key focal point for a brand in developing its relationships.
By putting employees at the center of the brand experience it changes the way senior management think about their organisational culture and the ways that the culture creates rewarding employee experiences which translate into positive and enduring customer experiences.
In-spite of all the talk of ‘people are our main asset’ the road to ‘employee-service-profit chain’ success is mired in obstacles!
If employees are distrusting and alienated from their organisations, what are the chances that they will provide customers and colleagues with a positive brand experience? And a positive experience is a must in order to have a usage of the brand and, more importantly, to get referrals.
From the organizational perspective employees need to have emotional maturity to understand and align their individual professional goals with those of the business. Often times, emotional maturity is not on par with intelligence maturity in the employee. And knowledge, intelligence and skill are often confused with emotional maturity.
- How do we get employees to strengthen and increase their emotional maturity?
- How do we get employees to build trust with the brand in order to be engaged and involved in the organisation’s growth plans?
Engagement programs are one solution. Unfortunately they are just what the term states—engagement, as perceived by the organisation,that is they provide a one-way street of communication. Commanding what should be the perceived brand image communication, providing content to gain a commitment. But not really providing any means of employee development or initiating engagement or involvement from the employee.
The missing element is involvement and having involvement is critical!
Intuitively we all understand what involvement is and how powerful it can be. When we are told to do something, we do it and then tend to forget about it. But when we are involved in something, we tend to be possessive and own it on an emotive level. And when emotion comes into play, passion is there. Where passion is present there is a strong, positive experience taking place.
This is the platform on which trust is built.
When trust grows, through engagement & involvement, the quality of the relationship increases rapidly on the positive scale leading to an enjoyable outcome of interaction between the brand custodians and its stakeholders. The cycle is completed when repeat usage and referrals occur.
This does occur simply because of human psychology. We like being around people who are collaborative, have a positive attitude and are helpful.
Thus when an organisation is managing cultural change a top priority is to have the employees’ involvement.
And this involvement requires that a strong group work process be in place. A process where the meetings and interactions take on a deeper meaning than just to meet in order to agree to the content of the meeting. A deeper meaning where one focuses more on honest conversation, high involvement and participation leading to strong, high trust relationships.
All simple, effective and, yet in a corporate set up, at times, hard to do elements (for various reasons)
Once a strong group process is in place it leads to strong work relationships based on involvement to a common cause. Then implementing an engagement program, in terms of content and communication channels, is not hard as each independent employee, driving those functions, believes and own it. As a result of which, each interaction is on a more personal, emotive and honest platform.
All of which lead to having a positive brand experience output.