Guide

Branding: the basics

Your brand and your staff

All of your employees will play a crucial part in managing your brand because they can affect what customers and colleagues think of your business. It is important to ensure that they understand your brand and believe in what it stands for. If they do, their actions will communicate this to other colleagues and customers.

Employees can become emotionally attached to brands, allowing for strong loyalties and even a sense of ownership. This can help maintain employee motivation and increase your sales. It could also cause problems if you don't consult them as your business grows.

For example, a jewellery company's 'Elegant' range may be beautifully produced, stylishly packaged and glamorously advertised in glossy magazines. Its brand values could be 'classy, special, and elegant'. However, if their staff are rude or unprofessional on the phone, customers won't think about that jeweller's elegance - they'll think about their staff's rudeness. As a result the brand - and possibly the business - will be undermined.

Keep your employees involved by setting up a suggestion scheme, or regularly taking the time to discuss your brand and how your business is performing.

Continually reinforce the message that what they do is important and explain why. Make sure they know that if they break the promises your brand makes to customers, this can damage the brand and your business.

What your employees should know

You should create a document setting out your core company values and benchmarks for how you want to operate and be seen to operate. It should summarise the purpose of your business and why you think you are different from your competitors. You should communicate this to your employees to ensure you are all working towards the same aims, and review it regularly. Read more about how to inform and consult your employees.