Leading Branding Expert for Small Business

Founders and execs find it challenging to overcome one of the largest obstacles to their company’s growth – finding and keeping good employees. What are the costs?

According to an article from TLNT, Talent Management and HR, the costs associated with employee turnover, including interviewing, hiring, training, reduced productivity, lost opportunity costs, etc. are staggering – here’s what it really costs an organization:

For entry-level employees, it costs between 30-50 percent of their annual salary to replace them.

For mid-level employees, it costs upwards of 150 percent of their annual salary to replace them.

For high-level or highly specialized employees, you’re looking at 400 percent of their annual salary.

Convert employees into brand advocates.
How can a savvy CEO leverage branding to keep the company’s best and brightest happy while attracting top performers? It starts with converting your current employees into brand advocates.

Your employees have to feel that they aren’t just a number, but someone whose voice is being heard and can take ownership of the service being delivered by your organization. This can be accomplished through a proven branding process.

Strong brand foundation.
Establishing a strong brand foundation that resonates with your key stakeholders, i.e. customers, vendors and most importantly, employees, is paramount for a company’s sustainable growth.

If disengaged employees don’t feel your brand is authentic, how will their opinions and perceptions be passed along to future employees?

To make sure current employees are on the same page as the leadership team and to give your company the best chance to recruit top performers, follow these seven tips:

1) Start with brand values.
A brand value is a good quality that a company wants consumers to connect with a brand. Your organization’s Core Brand Values are a fixed set of ideals that are the basis from which decisions are made. They can improve morale and be a source of company pride.

Your company’s core brand values set the foundation for your organization’s culture and can be leveraged as primary recruiting and retention tools.

Related: Top Brands Who Use Core Values to Drive Company Culture [Examples]

2) A core brand message that resonates.
Your organization’s core brand message needs to be clear, concise and consistent. If you or one of your employees is asked “What do you do?” from a potential customer, would the response be consistent throughout your company? Can all of your employees explain what your organization delivers and why your company should be chosen over the competition?

PRO TIP:
Go into work tomorrow and ask the first three employees you run into, “what do we do here at (insert your company name)?” If their responses are inconsistent, your brand messaging could be confusing to your target audience and potential job applicants.

3) Communicate results with a strong value proposition.
What are the most persuasive yet believable reasons your audience should notice you? Why should customers do business with you and not your competition? What value do you promise your customers? A value proposition answers these questions.

A robust value proposition delivers functional and/or emotional benefits to your target audience. It explains how your product or service solves your customers’ problems and is the primary reason a prospect should buy from you. It’s not only useful to your target audience, it also guides your internal team, stakeholders and future prospects by providing clarity and confidence to your brand.

PRO TIP:
Perform a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) on yourself and your direct competitors. This will help aid in the development of the value proposition.

4) Brand positioning is critical.
A positioning statement is a subset of the value proposition. It is for internal business alignment and most of the time shouldn’t be shared with clients.

However, if your company has “The #1” product or “The only” service, then it can be communicated externally as long as your company has the monetary resources to challenge all future competitors potentially vying for the same position.

Having plenty of testimonials, case studies, i.e. proof that the positioning will resonate with all stakeholders, will make your positioning statement more credible with future employees.

5) Laser focus on your target audience.
Personal and engaging communication has a better chance of resonating with an individual influential consumer than with the masses, and if you can gain them as a customer, they may influence others to follow suit with word-of-mouth, referrals, and social media recommendations. Everyone in your organization needs to know who makes up your ideal target demographic(s).

6) Survey your stakeholders.
Have you ever wondered what your employees, suppliers and customers truly think about your organization’s reputation? You may think your company offers unparalleled, top-of-mind products and services, however, what do your stakeholders actually think?

It’s best to leave this one to the pros. Hiring an unbiased 3rd party expert to ask open-ended brand reputation questions, with follow-up questions if necessary, can help validate company values, messaging and value proposition statements.

Survey results need to be based on accurate data. An outside survey partner will give your employees peace of mind and guarantee individual confidentiality.

7) Brand guidelines.
Brand guidelines provide practical instructions and ensure that all employees and third party vendors use your organization’s brand elements consistently. Guidelines provide standards on how to use your brand name, messaging, logo lock-ups, typefaces, colors and other design elements.

Professional branding guidelines can be utilized when onboarding new employees to ensure brand consistency and give current employees the tools they need for both visual and verbal communications.

DIY or hire an expert?
Implementing a branding strategy can be overwhelming for organizations to handle internally in a timely fashion. To keep your employees fully engaged and motivated, they have to have buy-in and be part of the branding process from the start.

Hiring a branding partner with an outside perspective and teambuilding experience can help you keep and attract the quality talent you need to grow your organization.

Related: 5 Simple Tips for Leaders to Choose the Right Strategic Branding Partner

Additional Resources:
• Our blog article “Top Brands Who Use Core Values to Drive Company Culture” provides examples of leading companies who have incorporated core values into the culture of their organizations.
• Branding Process [Video]

How Damon Can Help:
Damon can help your firm launch a new brand, rebrand an existing organization, connect emotionally with buyers, build your reputation and increase your visibility in the marketplace. Ask about our Brand Accelerator Program and start building a strong brand that drives sustained growth.

Damon Andersen is a branding expert at Damon Andersen, LLC. Damon helps founders and CEOs of professional service firms attract and retain top talent. His proven and proprietary branding process helps firms clearly define their brand, differentiate themselves from their competition and help make an emotional connection with their target audience.