How to create an authentic brand

It is common knowledge that honest and genuine people who are true to themselves, are more likeable characters. They never try to be something that they aren’t and always add value to a conversation, recognising if someone has a problem or needs help. This is exactly the same for brands, a brand personality is a set of human personality traits which are attached to a business that your staff embody. Of course, you want your brand to have the most likeable traits.

So think about what happens when you promote and portray excellent brand values in your marketing efforts, only for customers to be underwhelmed when they enter your store or receive a service from you. All because staff do not have the information, aren’t willing to help and provide no value to the customer. You’ve portrayed a false personality, whilst overpromising and under delivering. If customers find out you are not living up to the image which you promote, it removes trust and loyalty.

In fact, the biggest frustrations for customers are:

  • When the sales assistant doesn’t have the information
  • When they have received the wrong or conflicting information in store
  • When the employee is poorly trained
  • When the quality of information is poor from the in-store employee

(ThinkJar, Deloitte 2016)

Why?

It is important to know the reason behind why this service is being given, and why customers are not receiving the experience which they expect.

  • Employees have so much information which they need to know, it can be hard for them to keep up. They are busy working during shift hours, therefore it is unlikely that they are going to carry on learning the latest product or compliance document which you have sent out when they get home.
  • They don’t have the necessary tools to do their job. At home, they have the latest technology and can find the resolve to pretty much any topic within a matter of seconds. When they come to work they are expected to dig through folders, read through manuals and remember everything from the top of their head. In fact Korn Ferry (2016) found that lack of information and correct tools is a common factor for inadequate service, 28% of employees feel that they would be more productive with better training and tools.
  • Because they are made to work harder for everything it takes away ‘discretionary effort.’ This is the difference between doing the bare minimum, to putting in extra effort to make sure that they do their job well. It makes employees frustrated at having to waste their time and therefore means they are not performing to the best of their ability.
  • Half of the employees are not engaged when they go to work, this leads to mindless working. Staff are putting in the time but not working with a passion which is why information being given is poor (Gallup 2016).

The key

To create an authentic brand you must educate and excite your staff. They are the key difference between you and your competitors and who bring your brand values to life. You want them to provide real value when engaging in customer conversations because technology should only be there to enhance human interaction and service.

1). Information at their fingertips – How are your employees supposed to add value and provide honest and rich information if the customer has more technology in their hand than they do. By providing staff with mobile technology you allow them to give personalised attention to each customer, giving them quality and intricate information as opposed to generalised answers.

2). Make learning easy – In customer-facing industries, time is stretched because all staff are needed during shift hours, so learning needs to be portable, simple and something which can be done right on the shop floor. Having short quiz questions which can be done daily in a few minutes allows staff to learn routinely, and boosts their business knowledge allowing them to serve with confidence. It can be done during quiet periods to make full use of their time during working hours.

3). Consistency – Brands are likeable when they consistently deliver excellent service, however, if this isn’t repeated it really provides little value. Customers place a huge emphasis on consistency because if they receive good service they expect it again and again. They base their future shopping experiences on their previous ones so it is vital that excellent service is repeated. They need to know that they can count on you all of the time not some of the time.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 16th August 2017