I often use the statement “your brand is not what you say, but what others say about you.” It doesn’t mean that you can’t try to change or influence what they say, or that you can’t promote or market the brand you are aiming to be, or think you are.
Still, the reality of a brand is what the customers think it is.
One factor in the equation is the company’s employees. While uniforms or dress code can be part of the “image,” your employee’s behavior plays a significant role. How they treat others, work with each other, and operate becomes part of your brand.
Because you (and they) are human, there will be challenges based on your industry and the populations you serve.
ISM, for example, supports organizations launching entrepreneurship and small business development programs in the communities they serve — with a focus on under-served, under-represented and under-resourced populations. So, I ask myself “Does this person have a way to connect to these communities?” It may be in their background, history, or the manner in which they articulate their experience.
The big question is: how do you choose to overcome (or ignore) the challenges you face?
As you are interviewing potential employees, ask yourself:
- Does this person represent the brand we are/want to be?
- Can this person carry on what we are hoping to accomplish?
- How do they respond when things go wrong?
- How do they treat others, how do they work with others?
Sometimes people can grow into what you are hoping to accomplish, or they may grow out of your ideas and ideals.
A portion of your business success — or failure — lies in your ability to see and manage how your employees represent your brand.
BEFORE YOU GO
We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.
- Do your current employees represent the brand you are trying to present?
- What will you look for in future hires, to represent the brand you hope to present?
- What insights can you share about ensuring your employees represent your brand?
Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.