Connect with Employees to Connect with Customers


“A company’s culture and a company’s brand are really just two sides of the same coin. Brand is just a lagging indicator of culture.” Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos.

Your brand means nothing if your internal culture doesn’t reflect it every day. Imagine calling Zappos to place an order and getting a crabby person.  You can get beautiful shoes anywhere.  But Zappos has been the number you call when you want exceptional service—the brand promise you have bought into—that Zappos will “Deliver Happiness.”

When your employees deliver less than your brand promise, a few customers might give you a second chance when they have a bad experience.  But hardly any will give you a third chance.  If you know the lifetime value of your customer, you know the impact losing him or her will have on the bottom line.

That’s precisely why at Marketing Works we help our clients get and keep customers AND employees. The key is to make sure your culture (internal brand) is in sync with your brand promise.  When it is, you have happy employees who want to be working there and who give exceptional quality and service to your customers, who in turn continue to buy from you, refer more customers and generate profit that keeps the company sustainable.

How can you create an employee experience that is going to differentiate your brand and enable your people to consistently deliver the brand promise?  Most people don’t come to work excited about the prospect of making profit for their company. They need a connection to the brand promise, and it begins with knowing, embracing and living the answers to these questions:

  1. Why does your company exist?  What is its purpose beyond making money (mission)? Connecting people to a purpose is an important way of helping them feel good about your brand and research proves there is about an 85% correlation between the way employees feel about the brand and the way your customers do.
  2. What are the core beliefs (values) that guide decisions and behaviors? Not everyone is right for your brand. Find the people who share your values and then teach them the skills they need, not the other way around.
  3. What are acceptable behaviors? A value isn’t a value unless 99% of your people are doing it 99% of the time. That’s consistency! Performance reviews tied to values brings them to life.

If you want to connect with your customers, start with making raving fans of your employees.  Pay as much attention to the employee experience as you do to the customer experience, and your brand promise will be fulfilled.  For help articulating your core ideology, culture, or brand promise, email your request for the white paper summarizing my book, Companies Are People, Too.


Sandy Fekete • August 17, 2012

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BrandAlignment Marketers, Company Culture

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