How to connect brand storytelling and employee engagement
A recent article in Forbes titled “Eight approaches to improving how you share your company’s story” discusses the brand storytelling ideas of eight members of the Forbes Agency Council. Their aim is to help business owners become “better storytellers and brand stewards” as they improve engagement with customers.
The approaches described in the Forbes article evidence the need for congruence between external and internal stakeholder engagement. In short, brand storytelling and employee engagement should be linked strategies, and not seen as two distinct and separate entities.
What does brand storytelling achieve?
Your brand is a much deeper concept than the look of your organisation and its products/services. It describes your values, the experience your customers and service users should expect, and their perception of your organisation’s place in the world. Brand storytelling is a recognised technique to better engage with an audience, improve customer loyalty and increase sales, as it:
- Helps to illustrate your organisation’s culture authentically and provide a foundation for two-way conversations
- Provides the opportunity to differentiate your organisation from its competition, and evidence values, beliefs and human aspects of your brand
- Ensures your message is constant and consistent across all engagement platforms – social media, marketing materials, advertisements, trade articles, etc.
Brand storytelling is designed to engage customers
When brand storytelling, you put the customer at the heart of what you do, because they are at the centre of your business strategy. When brand storytelling to customers, you create powerful images as to how your organisation improves their lives. You create a vision of the customer as the story’s hero, and your organisation as a conduit to aid the customer to enhance their life.
The need to engage employees in brand storytelling
Your business depends upon its relationships with its customers, and these relationships are most acutely in focus at the employee/customer interface. Therefore, it is vital that your people are engaged with your vision and passionate about the positive impact of your products and/or services on the lives and businesses of your customers (the focus of your brand storytelling strategy).
The depth of this engagement is dependent upon company culture. Your company culture is reflected in your brand storytelling. Ergo, the link between employee engagement and brand storytelling is your culture – what makes your company different, your employees passionate and committed, and your customers loyal and excited.
When your internal narrative empowers employee engagement, your employees become heroes in your business. This helps them feel like an integral part of something bigger, inspiring greater loyalty, improving productivity, lowering staff turnover, and increasing positive impact on customers through alignment with your brand storytelling.
For your brand storytelling strategy to achieve its aims, a clear and consistent internal narrative that inspires excellence in customer service is critical. Unless your people understand the value of their role in the customer experience, it will be difficult for them to immerse in your brand storytelling strategy. The right message must be communicated to the right people, helping to build a passionate commitment to vision and credibility of your brand storytelling both internally and externally.
By creating an environment in which the internal narrative resonates with your brand storytelling, your leadership team will satisfy one of its key tasks: to align vision with passion for excellence in customer service. As Sir Richard Branson says, “If you look after your internal customers, you don’t have to worry about the external customers.”
Your customers trust your employees
Whatever your marketing efforts, it’s likely that your employees have the biggest impact on how your customers perceive your brand. How they act while at work, and the stories they tell outside of work, has the power to win and lose customers and encourage or discourage talented individuals from seeking to work for you.
The chances are that disengaged employees will disengage others from your organisation. But by helping your employees to better understand your organisation’s values, beliefs and reason for being, and the central role that they play in your organisation’s position in the world, you can produce a workforce of engaged and enthusiastic brand storytellers, both inside and outside of work.
What brand storytelling ideas do you have?
When was the last time your executive team discussed their brand storytelling ideas, and confirmed that your vision and mission are defined with clarity and precision, and are consistent between the experiences of your customers and employees?
To learn how our Learning Map could help you engage your employees in your mission and vision, embedding your brand storytelling into a compelling narrative that can be communicated in appropriate language for all employees, get in touch with The Big Picture People today.