Perception is reality. What someone thinks and feels about your brand is your brand. You can’t control this.
But what you can do is intentionally design the many factors that create the experience of your brand. That experience in turn helps to influence that perception.
It’s no surprise that the business world is well and truly customer-obsessed. And rightly so, given that businesses need to generate revenue to survive, and revenue comes from customers. Fact.
The ongoing quest to give customers an intuitive, seamless, positive experience when engaging with our organisations has driven significant growth in the fields of user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX). These experiences are huge factors that impact our view of products and services, contribute to marketing, shape brand perception and drive business performance as a whole.
For the most part, there is one audience group that is largely forgotten. And that is employees. Yes, employees are one of your primary audience segments, your business is ‘in service’ of them as a customer, and you should be investing in ensuring that experience is strategic, intentional and human-centered.
Employees are not only vital to the delivery of the brand experience to customers, but they also have their own brand experiences as internal stakeholders.
Brand ambassadors: Employees often serve as the frontline representatives of a brand. Whether they are in customer service roles, salespeople, or even behind-the-scenes staff, the way they perceive, understand, and embody the brand values can significantly influence how customers experience the brand.
Internal brand experience: Employees have their own interactions with the brand as an employer. Their experiences, from onboarding to day-to-day work life and interactions with company policies and culture, shape their perception of the brand. A positive internal brand experience often leads to higher employee engagement, loyalty, and motivation.
Consistency in delivery: Employees ensure consistency in brand delivery. When they believe in the brand’s promises and values, they can deliver a consistent experience to customers. This consistency is crucial for maintaining and building the brand’s reputation.
Feedback loop: Employees often have a pulse on customer sentiments. They can provide invaluable feedback and insights to improve products, services, and overall brand experience.
Word of mouth: Just as customers can become brand advocates, so can employees. Their own experiences and stories about the brand can influence their friends, family, and social circles.
Talent attraction and retention: A positive internal brand experience can help companies attract and retain top talent. When prospective employees hear about positive experiences from existing employees, they are more likely to consider and join the company.
Similarly to shaping our customer’s experience through customer experience design we can apply similar principles and practices to the employee experience (EX).
The combined thoughts, feelings and interactions that employees have at work. The process of shaping your employee experience is called employee-centered design. It’s about designing with employees, not for employees using a foundation of design thinking.
Employee experience is a huge area of opportunity for businesses and is likely to grow as an investment area and focus for brands in the coming years. Why?
Consider your organisation right now, what are the opportunities to improve the brand experience? This requires whole organisation thinking. Everywhere you look, there will be opportunities both big and small to improve the experience for customers and employees alike. Consider:
Interactions: Where and how are people engaging with the brand? This includes every touchpoint where people interact with the brand, be it through using the product, visiting the website, applying for a job or interacting with customer service.
Emotions: How does the brand make people feel? Does it evoke feelings of trust, happiness, nostalgia, or even excitement? Is the feeling created intentional and what you want people to feel, or not?
Perceptions: What do people believe about the brand? These beliefs may be based on firsthand experience, word of mouth, or the brand’s own messaging.
Behaviour: How do people react as a result of their experience? Do they make a purchase, recommend working at your organisation to a friend, or share their experience on social media?
There may be no faster way to improve your brand experience than to ensure you have a highly engaged team that are connected to your brand, happy in their work, set up for success and who stay in your organisation and become brand ambassadors spreading the good word.