A lead indicator on a brand’s health dashboard is how engaged your employees are.
There are numerous indicators of brand health to be measured: awareness, perception, competitors, propensity, segmentation, satisfaction and goodwill are just a few. Then there are the various methodologies and technological platforms available to choose from or to be confused by. And to have real value, brand health has to be measured frequently – real-time being best.
Effective as it is, research is expensive. Thinking things through carefully increases effectiveness and efficiency; for example, ensuring that the measures on your brand health dashboard are practical.
For example, measuring the financial value of your brand is useful if you are selling your business, but it is a lag indicator. In this fast-moving market, lead indicators are generally what one is looking for so that you can connect quickly to counter a challenge or take an opportunity.
A lead indicator which is relatively easy and cost-effective to measure is how engaged your employees are. Are your employees brand ambassadors? Do they know your brand promise and are they purposeful in honouring it? If the people delivering your brand are not honouring your brand promise, you can be very sure that your brand is suffering.
Investing in internal brand ambassadorship is just as important as investing in external brand advocacy. The thought and professionalism that goes into employee engagement communications needs as much care as that which goes into external brand-building efforts. In fact, if external investment is not properly supported internally, it runs the risk of being a waste of money, because over-promising and under-delivering is a sure way to undermine trust in your brand.
So, a leading indicator on a brand health dashboard should include employee engagement.
Engaged employees (brand ambassadors) have brand research uses that go beyond being an indicator of brand health: they are an incredibly useful source of brand insights into client and customer behaviour. A very cost-effective way to start brand research and plan brand health is to ask employees first, especially those who are client- or customer-facing.
This research can be qualitative (focus groups with employees) or quantitative: imagine if cashiers asked each person who they served a few simple questions and punched the responses in on the till – technology makes this easy. Doing this also has an employee engagement benefit because, more and more, employees want to feel that they are being consulted, not only instructed. And your employees will be engaging your customer instead of chatting to each other and ignoring the customer.
Start your brand research by consulting your employees and you will not only be getting valuable brand insights; you will also be getting more engaged employees.
Johnny Johnson is a brand and communications strategist at TowerStone Leadership Centre, whose vision focuses on empowering leaders to build a values-driven culture for sustainable success. His role is to define their clients’ brand promise and find ways of helping leaders engage with employees in such a way that they are committed brand ambassadors. Visit www.towerstone-global.com