How passionate are your staff towards your brand?  Is there energy and drive from most of your team to deliver amazing customer experiences and exceed expectations?  Do your managers inspire their teams to want to perform, for the brand, for their colleagues?

Creating a brand that lives, breathes and is embedded in all you do is an essential ingredient for survival and growth in 2016 and beyond.  Here are five essential elements in creating a brand that is alive and pumping through the veins of all you do:

1.      Have vision and values that get your team excited

Too many organisations have a set of vision, mission and values that are just plain boring.  They are generally the same as any other organisation in their sector, and sit in a folder.  Be brave, bold and differentiate yourself from the competition by creating something your staff are proud to be part of. Install a set of core values that form the basis of everything you do.  These values should define your business, the experience you create and the atmosphere amongst your staff.

2.      Create alignment at all levels.

If you truly want your front-line staff to deliver customer service excellence in a highly effective way then they have to feel aligned to all levels of management and other business units within the organisation.  From the CEO down, the brand values and company ethos have to be lived and embraced.  Just expecting your staff to deliver to a set of rules that you’re not prepared to do yourself is destructive and eats away at the soul of a business.  Leaders show their team how to behave not tell them, and if I feel aligned to my manager and colleagues I feel involved and engaged. This creates pride in what I do and brings the brand alive!

3.      Blow them away at their induction.

If we videoed a new employee being inducted in your organisation and played it to you, would you be blown away or would you cringe?  Would you see an induction where the line manager creates energy and passion towards your brand, explaining the minimum expectations of working for the organisation and why we expect those standards?  Do they relate these expectations to your values, showing the new member of staff how much they believe in them?  Most inductions in our sector are truly terrible and are often just a tick box exercise to get someone set up in their new role.  Most people leave their induction feeling flat and bored, but you can change this to show them your company’s true culture.

4.      Focus on your brand delivery every day.

Brand standards in a top organisation are never compromised, whereby the management team are the ‘brand police’.  Every manager in your organisation has to live the brand every day, every customer interaction, every team meeting, every training session, every team member appraisal, every marketing message, everything you do has to deliver on your vision, mission and values – they are the heartbeat of everything you do.  Every team within the organisation needs to be clear on the minimum delivery level and be focused on surpassing it.

5.      Mystery shop every month.

Make sure you check and challenge the actual delivery of your brand on a monthly basis.  Don’t take your teams’ word for great performance.  Video mystery shopping is an essential part off the toolkit of a service provider in 2016.  Be passionate about excellence and install a culture of not accepting mediocracy.  Watch your brand in action through a proactive and focused mystery shopper programme.

You cannot make your team bring your brand to life, they have to want to do it.  Your staff at all levels need to be proud of their employer, the brand they represent and be clear on what the brand expects.  When your teams feel aligned to each other and senior management it creates buy-in and loyalty.  Your leaders should lead by example, setting the tone for service excellence.  Is your brand alive in all you do?

Written by Paul Woodford Director for Marketing & Development