Take Your Internal Brand to the Bank

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It seems everyone is seeking ways to make the customer experience more personal, intimate and emotional. When even B2B marketers are trying to create “love” for their widgets, you know you are truly in the throes of the “Experience Economy.” If you’re a brand-builder looking to forge similar bonds with your customers in 2007, do yourself a favor – make a quick study of the companies and brands you personally like and dislike…and think about the “secret sauce” that makes them hum.

More often than not, you’ll find that it’s nearly impossible to forge emotional connections with customers if your own employees don’t feel emotionally engaged with you, their employer. Consumers expect the product to work – no gold star for that. It’s the energy, resourcefulness, attitude, and goodwill of your workforce that resonates with customers, creates a sense of intimacy, and keeps them coming back. Connecting employees to the brand in a positive way is the essence of an effective internal brand, which, when engineered elegantly, is as tangible as a brick wall, produces sustainable profits, and is a daunting challenge for your competitors to overcome.

When you take a closer look at relentless overachievers of any size, in any sector, you’ll find a highly engaged and energized workforce as the source code of those successful enterprises. To be sure, these companies do many things well: their products work consistently well, their marketing is innovative, and they keep a close eye on costs. None of these qualities, however, are the key to an overwhelming competitive advantage; that advantage resides in a workforce that inevitably goes above and beyond expectations. While this concept is completely intuitive and easy to grasp in concept, it’s one of the most confounding things in business to get wired correctly! Just ask the fleet of airline guys who have tried for years to duplicate Herb Kelleher’s model at Southwest. Hasn’t happened yet.

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