I was chatting with a friend this past week who was telling me about the brand fatigue he has experienced. “I simply went to the grocery store to buy a few items and I am overwhelmed by the number of brands for a simple salad dressing,” he stated. “I have brand fatigue.”
While he was being overly dramatic, a trait I have come to amusingly love about him, I think we have all been there. However, my fatigue does not come from the plethora of brands we have to choose from, but from the brands that do not live up to their brand promise. I used to frequently fly one airline that had a motto about being friendly and sad to say, more often than not it was not my experience.
As I have often done when I speak about customer experience, I speak about employee experience and I believe that it’s nearly impossible to deliver a true customer experience if your employees don’t know your organisation’s brand promise.
I was having this discussion with a colleague some time ago with a prospect and her response was surprising when she said, “you could get all of our executives in a room and I am not sure they would all agree on the promise or mission of our brand. How then would the rest of the employees know?”
While this one conversation may not be indicative of every company, it does highlight the importance and need for employees to know what their company stands for so they can deliver it.
There are just as many brands that excel at doing this as those that struggle and often those that struggle are like my colleague whose executive team could not align around a defined brand promise.
If you listen to Apple CEO, Tim Cook, he says the following about his company:
“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.”
There are themes that stand out when reading this mission statement:
- Willingness to change
While I am certainly an Apple brand advocate and may be biased, when you interact with Apple, their digital properties, their brick and mortar, and their products, you experience much if not all of what Cook states. Why? Because Apple invests in its employees to ensure they embody the brand promise of Apple. And furthermore, Cook is so confident in this he says that these values, this understood promise is embedded in the organisation.
If employees at every level of the organisation don’t understand and embody the mission of their organisation, there is little chance of delivering a holistic customer experience. If you are suspect of the impact that engaged employees will have on customer experience and ROI, consider this stat published by FOW: “Research shows that companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than companies with a record of poor customer experience. It’s pretty clear, and it’s also just common sense, that the information linking employee experience to customer experience is irrefutable. It’s also clear that companies who invest in employee experience can see a higher ROI than those who don’t.”
If you won’t take my word for it, take theirs and make all of your employees brand ambassadors in order to elevate CX.