Do your front-line employees, like customer service representatives and salespeople, know how to communicate your brand story? Most marketers laugh when they hear this question because they don’t have a high degree of confidence. In fact, according to my company’s research, 66% of marketing executives believe their brand message is lost by the time it reaches the front lines. A company’s marketing investment is designed to drive demand, but demand isn’t valuable unless it converts to sales at a high rate. This investment is far more effective and efficient when it improves conversion rates, but Consultancy reports that only 22% of companies are happy with their conversion rates. There’s obviously a problem somewhere along the way.
When companies don’t prioritize internal brand awareness, their marketing and advertising make promises to customers that their front-line employees don’t deliver upon.Phone Number List When a business falls short of customer expectations, its conversion rate tends to dip. This disconnect also leads to poor brand perception, lower customer satisfaction, and other challenges. Meanwhile, brands that present a consistent message are nearly four times more likely to experience brand visibility later, according to Lucidpress. Considering the costs of the disconnect, how consistent is your messaging? The Last Item on the To-Do List I’ve been working with one company that is in the process of pushing a new brand story out into the marketplace. The company recently acquired several smaller brands, and it’s now working to educate its customers—and the broader public—about its new name and identity. The company’s marketing team has been getting this new message out through advertising and digital marketing, but internal branding has fallen to the bottom of its to-do list. The result, according to the head of marketing, is customers who “don’t know what the company is.” The company is at risk of losing longtime customers if it doesn’t connect the dots between the new identity and the brand’s customers had grown to trust for years (and even decades, in some cases). There are plenty of seemingly valid reasons marketing teams fail to focus on internal branding. To start, they might think someone is already doing it—especially if the company has a training department or internal communications team. But these teams don’t always invest the time necessary to understand the brand positioning, which unfortunately means they cannot clearly communicate it. In other cases, teams might not see the importance of internal branding because they already produce “sales support materials.” The marketing teams compile product details, believing that sales and customer service can take a one-sheeter and turn it into a productive conversation. The information, however, is tailored to external customers rather than internal audiences. Lastly, marketers are hesitant to put their limited budgets toward internal marketing efforts. They have been conditioned to throw gobs of money at external marketing to drive demand, even if conversions are low. Internal brand awareness is a different path to the desired result—more customers—but most marketers don’t realize the potential of this approach.
The Power of Preaching to the Choir Considering everything standing in their way, it’s no wonder, so few companies ever think about marketing to their own teams. Here are four reasons to bump internal brand awareness up from the bottom of your to-do list: 1) It Fosters Consistency Every marketer seeks consistency with her company’s story. If customers do not hear the same narrative every time they learn about your business, it can lead to confusion and doubt. Doubt leads customers to your competitors. Southwest Airlines, for example, doesn’t have a brand story; it has a brand attitude. The airline’s team members—from flight attendants to ticket agents—are pleasant and genuine in trying to help customers, and they generally make it easy to do business with Southwest. That’s because the company has made customer service a significant part of its brand. What you hear is what you experience. 2) It Creates Conversions Consistency is a building block to conversions, which should be the most important metric for every marketing department.
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