TAPPING THE EQUITY OF YOUR TWO-LEGGED BRAND ASSETS(AIN’T AS EASY AS YOU THINK)
Podcasting, DVR, blogging, vlogging, mash-ups, widgets, wiki, taggingand anything else that allows consumer brand interaction/involvementseem to be the current hot marketing tools of choice for creating a moreintimate brand experience. But if you think about the most interactive of allbrand experiences, it is already in place and has been for a long, long time.It is your customer-facing employees. Whether you are a retailer, a serviceprovider or a distributor, your employees who interact with customerscan make or break your brand each and every time they engage one ofyour customers.While all of these other marketing forms are swirling around in an increasinglycrowded and complex communication universe, customer-facingemployees remain a solid constant. They are always in place, and the majority of your customers aregoing to interact with them at some point in their involvement with your brand. A recent AdAge.com story pointed to a statistic that some brands plan to shift up to 90 percent of theirannual marketing budgets in-store. Hopefully this means that in addition to store design/layout, signageand other experiential elements, there will be a lot of time and effort spent on properly training employeesto be good brand ambassadors.Brands that seem to “get” that their employees are an integral part of the brand experience include Starbucks,Nordstrom, Cold Stone Creamery and Southwest Airlines. You can see it in the eyes of these employees. Theyare all brand believers, truly understanding what the brand is about and what it is trying to do to enhance thecustomer experience and create loyalty. They know how to act and what to say to customers to ensure thebrand experience is properly executed each and every time they interact with a customer.So what is the best way to use your living, breathing brand assets? Here are some basic guidelines to help startshaping your employees into strong brand ambassadors. This is not something that happens overnight. Youmust be committed to these types of ideas for the long term if you ultimately want to see success.
BY :DAV IDSTUTTS, DIRECTOROFBRANDPLANNING