When Employees Kill Your Million Dollar Marketing Effort!!
If I were to ask you — name the most important marketing asset of your company, how would you reply?
Would you be surprised if I say, your Company’s most important marketing assets are its employees.
Maybe not. Isn’t it true, finally it is your employees and the way they treat your company’s stakeholders and others in the outside world, that gives meaning to all the tall claims you make in your company’s marketing collateral.
Every employee from the person sitting on the front desk to the CEO has an important role to play in marketing the company at all its touch points. Every call, every email sent out to the outside world, forms an impression about the company, its people and overall corporate culture.
The problem is, marketers often forget to look at this important aspect. They spend months and millions on putting together the perfect positioning statement, the flawless branding across channels and then within minutes an employee with his unruly or aggressive behaviour kills all that labour of love and carefully cultivated image in one go.
According to the Encyclopaedia of Business, “Corporate culture affects many areas of a firm’s operations. One broad area of corporate culture involves corporate citizenship — the Company’s relationship to the larger environment. In this area, a company’s culture helps determine its overall ethics and attitude toward public service.”
So the way your employees behave with outsiders can have a very significant impact on your business. Also, today a person may not be your customer, but tomorrow, he could be the decision maker driving the make or break deal for your company — can you risk offending anyone at all? Especially, when you are representing your Company or communicating on its behalf.
It could be anyone in the company who was rude in their communication, but for the person who received that inappropriate email or phone call, it was ‘the XYZ Company’ that misbehaved with him.
People eventually don’t remember the individuals they interacted with, they remember the brand, the individual represented.
Also, how employees react to different situations acts like a forewarning for future customers, partners etc. on what to expect of them in a crunch situation.
Few years back as a media person, I often had to interact with aggressive PR professionals who would not take, No for an answer. Later, when I took up Public Relations as a career option, I did not really have the academic certification on how to be a professional PR, but what I did have was the, on the job perspective of a journalist and what I should not be as a PR when dealing with the media or people in general :) It helped! The constant realisation that my actions, words and decisions affect my clients was enough for me to not let emotions take over good sense, no matter what the situation.
I remember back in 2011 TechCrunch published a post titled — Seriously, Timothy Johnson, Your Idea Of How To Do PR For Clients Is A Joke — where it was clear, the mentioned PR professional could not handle the pressure of rejection and ended up garnering a lot of negative publicity for his Company. There have been many such PR faux pas before and after this incident, I am sure, but this incident stayed with me, I would never want to be in Timothy’s shoes.
So the next time you work on that elaborate marketing plan, take some time aside to think of how you will help the message trickle down to the last of your Company’s employees, so that they help you in your marketing and brand building efforts by reaffirming your brand’s vision through their individual behavior when managing the different touch points of your organization.
Being polite never hurts anyone, in fact, it ensures that your efforts go a long way in winning over your stakeholders and building brand loyalty.
Getting this simple message across to your employees will go a long way in boosting your marketing efforts.