Interesting view from AdAge on using internal resources for branding and focus groups. This got me thinking, should professional firms consider going to internal audiences for brand enhancements and understanding?
The AdAge piece looks at consumer packaged goods, finance and retail brands, noting the use of employees for branding, product development and social-media evangelism. Some brands are using employees for the pitch, like Pizza Hut and Overstock.
In professional settings, we often go to very sophisticated business development experts, as well as branding and identity firms to develop and pitch business and establish brands.
We need to consider engaging internal employee audiences in ways we routinely ignore. Perhaps there is a benefit in engaging employees in our professional services settings to not only understand more of the work, but engage them to support the brand.
In the piece, Fidelity’s Jim Speros notes that, ” ‘[m]any companies forget that their employees are their ultimate brand ambassadors.’ ” Could this also be true for professional services? Maybe, to a degree.
Your employees are often on the front lines, answering phones and greeting your clients. They will certainly do this differently with a basic knowledge depth about the firm’s differentiators and client base. Every interface with the public says something about your brand. It’s worthwhile for employees to understand something about the firm’s goals and areas of expertise.
You never know when an employee will be in a setting to mention the firm or to influence bringing a referral into the firm. It is probably a good bet that employees should not be ignored in branding deployment.