On the surface, building a brand from the inside out is sort of a given, right? Treat your “team” well and they will be happy; a happy team then creates a stronger brand. It’s a nice thought and meme headline from a sales guru, but going a little deeper, it’s important to look at and closely study the psychological and sociological factors that actually go into building a brand from the inside out.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a professional psychologist or sociologist, but I am a guy that is successfully running a marketing company over the last 25 years. I cannot stress enough that in order to be successful in marketing, you must have a thorough understanding of people in general, and what makes them tick. Over the years I’ve learned what truly motivates people is truthfulness, the ability to listen, and providing an environment of complete respect and cooperation.
Ask any successful business owner of a strong brand what percentage of their job is managing personnel, either in-person or through a subordinate, (i.e. HR, senior manager, account executive, etc.), and what percentage of their job is actually doing their “job,” they will most likely say it’s about 50/50. They’ll also say, “that is my job.”
It doesn’t really matter the size of the company either. One example I like to use is Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group. If you know of him, as I’m sure you do, can you imagine him not being extremely hands-on with his entire team? I wouldn’t be surprised if he knows each of his holding group’s 35,000 employees by first name! A content and empathetic team fosters a successful brand.
I certainly don’t have 35,000 employees, but over the years I have employed some wonderfully intelligent people. By design, my individual team members have always been way smarter than me (in my opinion) at what they do. But, if there was a general area I hope my management style has rubbed off on them over the years, it would be the importance of humanity, and with that, human psychology and sociology. You simply cannot have a successful brand without this.
Treating your people well is important, for sure, but that alone does not build a successful brand. Truly understanding your people is more of a feeling than a word or action. When you hear someone say “I feel you” in its contemporary meaning, it’s really getting very close to what I am talking about. A successful company or brand is one where everyone (from every level of authority) has a true desire to mindfully listen, learn, cooperate and “feel” each other to excel as a team. That same desire will ultimately be extended to your clients, resulting in a very successful partnership.
So, if upon “brand soul-searching” you find that your company’s brand needs some work, start inside. Set aside times where you and various groups of your entire team can discuss your brand and determine ways to strengthen it. Get others involved. This is not just a marketing function. It’s a whole-company function. The more involved you make your team members, the more inclined they are to get excited about being a part of something important and noble. Once the internal vision is unified, you can enlist the assistance of a marketing company to bring your vision to life.
It’s amazing what most people can “feel” if they truthfully open their minds. Add this ability to their natural intelligence and capabilities, and, wow, they can do just about anything—including successfully working with others to build a brand from the inside out.