One of the best purposes of employee communication is to connect employees to your company’s brand and products. People who understand what their company does, stands for, and makes are more likely to engage in the business.
Employees can be your brand’s best representatives in the marketplace, community, and among customers. People who have a deep understanding of their company’s brand are more likely—and better able—to articulate it to others.
Here are three ways to connect your company’s employees to your brand:
1. Familiarize them with your company’s products/services.
It’s interesting how many companies never do this. Some people go to work every day without a clue about what their company does.
I began my corporate career in a plant that manufactured printed circuit boards. Many employees knew a lot about the boards, but not about how our customers used them. Maybe this was because the end-products weren’t all that sexy—power systems for telecommunications equipment, for example.
But, when one customer used the boards in one of the first “picture phones”—this was the early 1990s—employees became excited and proud of the products they made.
Help employees understand the company’s products and services. It might be difficult to make some products sound exciting, but employees need to know what their company does for customers.
2. Tell stories about the company and its brand.
One of my recent gigs as a consultant was to research and write the history of one of my client’s well-known consumer products. The idea was to publish a booklet that employees—especially the sales force—could read to help them tell the brand’s story to customers.
The project manager, who worked in marketing, said in order to understand where the brand is going, employees needed to understand where the brand had been. That makes a lot of sense. It turns out the brand had a rich, colorful history that made its custodians proud.
I’ve written before about the power of storytelling. People remember stories. Stories connect people to a brand in a way no other form of communication can.
3. Ask for employees’ ideas on how to build the brand.
Most companies that make products have employees in research and development whose job it is to create new products. Wise company leaders ask all employees for ideas and suggestions. After all, employees likely use their company’s products.
Employees understand the products and know where the company’s growth opportunities exist. They are in a good position to suggest new ideas.
Employees are too rich a resource to squander. Educate them, and enlist them as brand ambassadors. You might be surprised at how willing they are to take on the role.
Robert Holland is employee communications manager for a Fortune 500 company in Richmond, Va. He blogs at Communication at Work, where a version of this post first appeared.