So far the conversations that I’ve been having in 2016 seem to revolve around very similar themes; Brand, Strategy and People.
Over the coming months I intend to explore these in more detail one at a time, but right now the interesting conversations seem to be about how these issues overlap.
The New Age of Marketing
There is plenty of research out there suggesting that marketing these days is far more about using the personal relationships of your staff in order to grow your business. Take employee advocacy marketing for example, the concept of using staff social media to increase reach of company messages. This type of marketing relies very much on social proof coming from people and using this influence to attract new customers to your brand.
Furthermore, networking offline has never been more prevalent. The last few years has seen a huge uplift in breakfast meetings, lunch time networking, after work groups all for the purpose of doing business. Once again it’s the importance of the personal brand, this time in offline situations.
The person centric focus on growing business is clearly now a focal point for many organisations and fundamental to a growth strategy.
Allowing staff to speak on behalf of the organisation comes with challenges. Simply allowing people to talk to the whole world on your company’s behalf can result in some quite major issues. I was talking to someone who I regularly collaborate with, discussing the challenges of staff using social media to market the business and some common challenges arose;
What happens for example, when the person you allow to share your posts on social media is also prone to sharing extremist personal views through similar channels?
What happens if the person you are asking to share company information just doesn’t like their job or the company?
Or what about if 9 out of 10 staff are more than happy to engage with social media promotion, but 1 member of the team does not know how to use it? There is a clear risk of isolating someone in the team.
If Marketing through People is important than Engagement is Vital.
As your people become more valuable in getting the company message out then the relationship they have with the company is vital. It’s no good asking someone to speak when they don’t know what to say or how to say it.
Connecting Brand, Strategy and People
As we move further into the 21st century, where organisations are becoming more entrepreneurial in their spirit, and staff are often being tasked with more rounded tasks outside their job role, it’s important that the brand, strategy and people are aligned.
The strategy in place should take into account the people. When it comes to the message of the brand is it enough to tell staff, or do you need to involve staff in creating that message? If they are to breath the company values then they’ll need to be living them as well.
Imagine the benefits to your business when the people who work with you are highly engaged and well trained on how to communicate the values and vision of your business to the world.
As a business owner what are your concerns for 2016, particularly regarding brand, strategy and people? I’d love to hear your thoughts.