The employee = the experience

We all love formulas. Here’s a good one:

Your Employees = Your Brand = Your Experience

I’m no math expert, but we could even shorten the formula to:

Your Employees = Your Experience

One bad experience with an employee will destroy years of great branding you’ve done. People often don’t talk about brands; they talk about their experiences with brands. While marketing may be the public face of the brand, it’s your staff who lives it.

It’s all about the people

As Joey Coleman says in Never Lose a Customer Again, “Remind yourself that you are selling something to people that will be used by people. If you keep that in mind, you will move your customer through the phases of the ideal journey.”

In other words, the experience is all about people. Your credit union is not in the financial services business. You are in the people business—which means your employees are the experience.

More than employees

Your staff are more than just employees. They are brand ambassadors. So, your staff must buy into your brand. As Nicolas Ind says in Living the Brand, “It is the collective power of individuals in an organization that provides and sustains a competitive advantage.”

If your brand says you are all about friendly service and the person answering your phone is rude, then your brand is rude. Again, your employees equal the experience. Your call centers, branches, service representatives, loan officers and operations support all play an important role in the experience members have with your credit union.

How do you make sure your employees provide that great experience? Here are three steps:

  1. Assess your experience—What is it like to do business at your credit union? You must conduct brand mystery shops to gain a full understanding of what the current experience is really like. In helping credit unions through marketing assessments, we often find there is a gap between their brands and their staff.
  2. Train your experience—You must train your staff to your brand. Help them understand the connection between their day-to-day job and the brand. Your brand promise is worthless if your employees don’t deliver it daily.
  3. Reinforce and reward your experience—You must hold your employees accountable for the experience they provide. Are you willing to punish employees for not living your core values? Will you reward your all-stars for owning the experience?

Become extraordinary

The experience you provide can’t be ordinary. Service is more than just being nice. You have to “wow” members to give that great experience.

In The Experience Economy, author Joseph Pine argues we are in a new economic era in which every business is a stage and companies must design memorable events for which they charge admission. But no matter what experience you create, it’s your employees who must deliver it.

Your biggest threat (and asset)

The biggest threats to your brand don’t come from all the other financial institutions in your area. The biggest threats come from within.

As part of a recent rebrand we were doing for a client, we conducted mystery shops for their institution and their competitors as part of the research phase. We often gather their competitor’s marketing materials as part of that process. One of their competitors did not have any marketing material displayed. So we asked, do you have any brochures? The employee’s response: “I’m the brochure.”

That’s like your employees saying, “I’m the brand.”

At the end of the day, remember your brand is not just your logo, your message or your vision.

Your employees are your brand experience. They make, or break, the brand you built.


Contact On The Mark Strategies

Contact On The Mark Strategies

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark ... Web: Details