A few weeks ago I spent a couple of days with one of our clients, visiting each of their locations and conducting brand ambassador training with select employees. Prior to this, we developed a solid curriculum to use during the training. The curriculum put the employees at the center of the brand transformation while clearly explaining how a brand is so much more than a logo or tag line. In the end, it is always about brand experience and employees have a lot to do with brand experience. Employees impact the perceptions of patients and family members, co-workers, community members, and friends. How they portray the organization in their interactions has a lot to do with creating perceptions of the brand.
It is a powerful experience to engage employees in discussions about their connection to their company’s brand. Sometimes that can be positive and sometimes it can be negative. Either way, it needs to be done. You have to surface the negativity and skepticism in order to eventually overcome it, and you certainly want to celebrate the positive.
During one of the brand ambassador training sessions, the conversation became incredibly emotional and three of the attendees broke into tears. It was a remarkable moment. The individuals care enough about the brand that they were brought to tears. It wasn’t because they were overjoyed; it was because they share common frustrations during this time of transformation. They love this organization and want to see it move forward. This particular transformation is long overdue and many of the employees are dealing with change fatigue. (Is change going to happen? What will it look like? How will it impact me and my team?) It is so difficult thinking about change and trying to anticipate the unknown that lies ahead.
In this case, the launch of the new brand will signal that change is happening. I believe it will be a relief to almost everyone involved. With the launch behind them, they will be able to deal with the realities of change, rather than their fears of the unknown. The good news is that the organization has a cadre of recently trained brand ambassadors who are now well informed and can speak to their colleagues about the rebranding process. They are in the know.
Every time I do brand ambassador training, I am reminded about why it is so important. It is only one step in a well thought out rebranding process, but it is truly foundational. I believe your employees should be your best marketers and that won’t happen by accident. It needs to be part of an intentional effort. Brand ambassador training is one essential element.