Some organizations create a façade of visual identity and branding, but neglect to brand their employees. They seem to forget that the most compelling brand are their employees, not just some fancy logos and banners.

Actions: Employee branding tips

What do your customers want when your employees greet them on the phone and in person? This is not just about the logos, nametags and uniforms you provide for them to wear. We can recommend C.H.A.M.P. (consultative, healthy, active, meticulous, and prepared).

1) Consultative. Customers today are sophisticated and know a lot more about your products and services (and your competitors), as well as your industry and its relation to the larger world out there. So when they face your people, they expect more than the smiles and friendliness, a neat and nice uniform, but also the ability to provide a consultative approach with them. Your people are expected to offer the best available options and choices, backed by analysis and experience. The best way to empower your people to be consultants are to provide regular in-house or external training, coupled with in-house knowledge audits, and even role-plays and simulations in regular monthly meetings (or more frequently).

2) Healthy. Human beings can be prejudiced and form preconceived ideas. If your employees look sickly or are perceived as sloppy, any amount of great work will go to waste. If you do not have an in-house wellness and fitness regimen for your people to stay visibly and inwardly healthy and fit, provide a subsidy for them to join outside facilities, or form beneficial partnerships with sporting facilities. Ensure that your employees stay within tolerated physical and mental fitness levels, and provide financial or other incentives for those who stay on course. Companies have found that by having in-house wellness and fitness programs, they have reduced their medical bills, and have more productive and happier employees.

3) Active. Are your people energized and ready to help customers anytime? Or are they lethargic and laid back? Instill a corporate culture of energy and action, and reward them appropriately. Even the physical surroundings should be conducive to creating energy in your people. For example, instead of dull gray paints for walls, opt for brightly colored ones. Rather than provide caffeine for your people, opt instead to provide “chill-out” rooms where stressed employees can relax for 15 minutes or so before getting back on work again. If possible, provide stress relieving activities, games or mechanisms for your people to remove pent-up frustration, and you will find happier and more active people to better serve your paying customers.

4) Meticulous. Nothing piques customers more than mistakes and problems arising from carelessness by service providers. A credit card bill with double billing can irk customers to switch banks. Wrong flower bouquets can ruin a relationship your customer is trying to maintain. Shoddy workmanship on checking an automobile can leave your customer hot, flustered, and stranded on the lonely highway. Therefore, instill a corporate culture of ZERO DEFECT in any area of work, and treat all business processes (including mundane administrative procedures) as part of a total quality system.

5) Prepared. Would you want to deal with a lawyer who cannot prepare all documents, case files and forms before the meeting? The clock is ticking and you are paying extra for his incompetence and lack of preparation. As with the attributes described here, the key to a successful implementation is NOT to punish when things go wrong, but to publicly endorse and reward generously when things go right. You may be surprised how receptive your employees are to a good reward system, as opposed to a punitive system.

Your frontline people are your limbs, if you equate the CEO to be the brain, and middle managers the central nervous system. Without a great set of limbs, your brain and the central nervous system will merely be specimens in a jar with no ability to change the world.

These are some writings we did in 2003 (published as “DotZen”, a paperback book that was widely publicized), and we extracted some which are still relevant today, in the areas of branding, marketing, sales, publicity, and business improvement. If we find some time outside that of helping our clients grow and taking a rest, we will try to write some more.

Copyright©2003 Seamus Phan & Ter Hui Peng. All rights reserved.