Just imagine, for a moment, this fictional scenario. You are paying for presents in your local John Lewis store this festive season and the member of staff serving you, a Partner, is loudly rubbishing the company’s eagerly awaited Christmas television ad. You’d probably feel a little disconcerted; regardless of the ad itself, you’re a loyal customer and you expect to experience a sense of loyalty within.
This gap, or disconnection between consumer expectation and experience, is what tests our decision making process when we are buying goods and services in B2B or B2C. It’s only when our interactions are consistent with our expectations, that our brand perceptions and allegiance are positively reinforced. Just the idea that an organization’s employees don’t share our understanding or regard for a brand, is enough to leave us feeling unconvinced, or worse, that we’re somehow being duped.
The brands that get it right are the ones that align their staff across departments, behind a common goal and set of values. They are the ones that clearly communicate from the top down, what the company stands for and how each employee contributes to the realization of that promise. Because an engaged and empowered workforce is a business’s best asset; a living manifestation of the brand spirit, tangible at every touch point.
However, research commissioned by agency Omobono suggests that many businesses lack the necessary mechanisms and the cultural mindset to make internal team alignment happen successfully.
Moreover, at the heart of Omobono’s findings is the revelation that the Marketing department is struggling to maintain its responsibility for managing the brand. In a drastic shift, branding accountability is being dispersed across teams. According to the research, HR is now the second most influential voice when it comes to defining what a company stands for, with 75% of employees believing the department contributes to the overall profile of the brand.
At a time when customer experience is everything, internal team alignment has never been more vital. So what can organizations do to avoid problems on the inside impacting negatively on the outside?