By Katherine Miracle
Yes, my name is Miracle, but my fellow marketers and I agree that to make miracles happen, we need to step in when a corporate culture kills the brand of the company.
As marketers, we must take on the role of problem solver to fix the brand. You will see many CMOs engage with public relations teams to solve the real brand killers in 2016.
Example: Learn from 2015 headlines:
Sports teams, corporations, and colleges that have multiple news stories about bad leadership decisions, product failure or cover ups, player distractions or layoffs. Fans, followers, customers, employees, and alumni question the brand, question their loyalty and even start websites, video series, bad reviews, and petitions against the brand. Marketers are still asked to market the product, team or service even though the brand killers are still doing daily damage.
The quick answer: The brand killers need to go. But as a marketer, crisis communicator or public relations firm, you often do not have that choice.
The strategic answer is: Strategic personal branding with training for the entire organization. Why? The brand killer needs the training to understand long-term consequences for decisions. In the case of an NFL player who causes distractions, training can uncover a real issue or mental health issue that needs more treatment.
You may ask, “I am not a brand killer, so why do I need training?” You believe you are part of the solution, not part of the problem, but training provides team building, and your contribution, thoughts, voice, and actions are needed to elevate the brand.
Consider your company: Can you answer the following questions?
Training can provide the forum to create the answers to those questions. Training that is interactive can engage employees in creating a branding statement and adding their specific roles to help the brand grow. Team building can help the team understand how it can help co-workers build the brand.
Sadly, leaders often do not attend training, and this signals to the team that they are above training. Marketing is teamwork so everyone needs to be in the training.
What about personal culture and how we communicate our personal brand?
Without training and evaluation, disaster happens. Lets learn from the worst:
Example: Have you ever been accosted by a brand killer? I have, and it is sad. The person selling to me wanted me to become a customer and begin selling their product. I was invited to a social event, but in the first five minutes a guest at the event pushed a catalog, told me his monthly earnings, and showed me a bank statement. I am sure he is passionate about the product and truly believes in the mission of the company, but the brand was never of interest to me, and now that this situation of push selling happened, I will run from anyone selling this product.
What the brand killer showed me was a culture of push and not finding out what truly interested me as a potential customer. Maybe he was desperate to make a sale. I understand, and I have been there, but the consequence of showing me a culture of pushing your product did not engage me. The choice we make when we grow a strategic personal brand is to be accountable for our actions and the way we communicate. We must evaluate how we engage with everyone we meet.
To become a brand thriller: Learn about the person you are talking with, and just because they ask a question or seem nice, that is not an invitation to dump your product on them. Please consider what their goals are and how you or your company can help them achieve those goals. Yes, it is that simple.
In 2016 commit to being a brand thriller not a brand killer!
Katherine Miracle is the president of Miracle Resources, an award-winning full-service marketing, public relations and training firm that helps clients increase revenue and awareness. She is a strategic personal branding expert and the author of “Your Strategic Personal Brand” Please connect with via email or Twitter.