The global economic crisis has afforded individuals and organizations of all types with the opportunity for self-analysis, in an attempt to discover of rediscover, what is important to them. For individuals this introspective process includes a determination if the organization that they work for and other organizations that they engage with are the right fit. Employees and customers are asking themselves if the mission and core values of their network of organizations align with their own. At the same time, businesses need to be assessing the process for recruiting and retaining champions for their brand.
In the past several years, too many companies looked for quick-fix branding solutions. Mission and core values were simply words on a piece of paper, what was expected from funding sources to stay afloat or hidden parts of the content on a web site. As the economy recalibrates itself everyone and every organization will be expected to do more with less, and will be required to communicate who they are and what they stand for. By so doing, businesses will be more effective in recruiting and retaining brand champions. Employees and consumers will be given the opportunity to connect or re-connect with brands that they feel passionate about championing.
Steps for Recruiting and Retaining the Right Brand Champions
Seek out best practices.
There are a number of organizations that have been successful in recruiting and retaining passionate advocates for their brand. Examples include LEGO, La Salle University, Red Bull, Southwest Airlines, and others. These organizations have been sustainable despite the economic downturn, because they know who they are and what they stand for.
Include your mission statement and core values in all communications and marketing channels. Make prominent in the content of your web site, collateral materials, newsletters, blogs, social media sites, and other communications tools evidence that you know your purpose and live your guiding principles.
At every touch point with your employees and consumers, provide quantifiable outcomes of how you bring to life the mission and core values of your organization. When people hear or see the name of your organization a set of associations come to mind, and an expectation is formed. Give evidence that you deliver on your brand promise.
Connect brand champions.
The advent of social media provides all businesses with a tremendous opportunity to connect with the right brand champions. Organizations are realizing that blogs, wikis and social networking sites like Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, and others are cost effective, real-time, solutions for telling their story in an accurate, authentic, concise and consistent manner.
As more and more people look to champion brands that parallel what they believe to be important, and as organizations realize their brand value lies in mission and core values, the financial landscape that we all strive for will be achieved. This time it will be authentic.