People are the tangible, experienced expression of every brand.
The first time I ever heard anyone talk about branding, I was sitting in a room with a group of other twenty-somethings in training for my first job out of college. Some guy was clicking through a compelling keynote presentation about the importance of upholding the company’s brand. This was his chance to indoctrinate the new kids with as much insight on the company identity as possible before sending us out to interact with the client face-to-face. He could have said a lot of things, but the only point he hammered into our malleable minds was this: You are the brand.
You—the ironed corners of your shirt collar, the style of your hair, the vocabulary you use—are the tangible, experienced expression of the brand.
It’s a powerful, necessary part of the branding process: understanding that what your clients actually experience will determine how they think of you, no matter what your mission statement says. Brand mastermind Alina Wheeler puts it this way: Demonstrate, don’t just declare. You could have the sunniest visual identity and happiest tagline, but if your brand’s identity doesn’t translate to the smiling faces of your employees, it is all for naught. If your brandmark bespeaks intelligence and professionalism, so must the girl who answers the telephone, or the guy who stands at the cash register.
Here at Matchstic, we get the pleasure of helping lay the foundation for beautiful, passionate, and innovative brands. Our process is holistic—moving from selecting a name to developing a visual identity system and eventually creating a plan for implementing the brand. We work with our clients to develop big ideas and brand attributes that are meant to guide every part of their company process. After all of this happens, we dream of watching our clients sail off into the sunset with success in their back pockets. But the truth is, we’ve only just given them the tools they will need as they courageously, carefully work to fly their own flag.
Even companies who are not “customer service focused” will be forced to interact with entities outside of their organization—at some point, someone who doesn’t work for you will talk to someone who does. When that happens, what will be the result?
Remember, you—and every person that you hire—are the brand.