So far in this series we’ve looked at how your brand and marketing strategy are perceived and reacted with by your clients – but what about your staff?

Without your staff on-board no marketing program will succeed. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that probably one of the most important elements of any marketing program is having staff buy-in. But how to get it?

Simplicity

This is not a dig at your staff, but rather those overblown and meaningless missions statements that seem the populate the corporate world. Your brand and your mission statement should be one. They need to work together and be given as much thought as each other. A mission statement should also be able to be understood by mere mortals and, in an ideal world, be able to be remembered.

A great example of this is talked about at length in Stick, a book by Chip and Dan Heath that I reviewed here. Southwest use the slogan “The Low Cost Airline.” This slogan, which is the central part of their mission statement, informs the decisions that both management and staff make everyday –

“Should we have sandwiches on this flight?”
“Does that make us the Low Fares Airline?”
No because the added cost of the sandwiches might increase the fare price.

“Should we joke about a flight attendant’s birthday over the intercom?”
“Does that affect us being the Low Cost Airline?”
No it doesn’t – so go ahead.

Having an overriding statement, that is the building block of your mission statement helps, give your staff a sense of mission and purpose. If you use it to define your decisions everyday, and tell them why it fits into that statement, they will soon see the benefits of this kind if thinking and hopefully adopt it as their own.

Keeping Staff Informed

It is a surprisingly common mistake, I’ve made it myself several times, but your staff should not be the last ones to find out about any kind of marketing program. Not only does it frustrate the staff, it upsets the client and creates the exact opposite impression in their mind that you were probably trying to create in the firs place. It is also a great idea to have staff involved in the planning stages of any marketing program. This stops it from being “your” marketing program and makes it “our” marketing program – a much better solution all round.

Explain What is Out There

It might come as a shock, but staff do not cruise their employers website, social media pages, and review sites at night, when they get home from work, as a method of relaxation. Take the time and effort to explain these resources to staff so that they, in turn, can be knowledgeable to clients when they ask.

Provide Reminders

If you are promoting particular products, ensure that staff have the tools, training, and reminders to be able to effectively do their jobs. What do I mean by reminders? Well it could be as simple as a poster or you asking about their progress on a daily basis and it could be as technical as power point presentations running where both clients ad staff can see them. As Seth Godwin says “Competence is the enemy of change.” In other words, when you give your staff new products, protocols, and ideas to work on, you are making them less efficient for the time it takes them to learn all the new things. Naturally, they might be a little resistant to that. All the help you can provide will make the transition to a new state of competency as straight forward as possible.

Be Emotional

If you care about an idea, concept, or product – show that you do. Tell stories about how this product, idea or concept will affect your clients, your staff, or whom ever. But if you cannot show that you care about something, how are your staff ever going to care? You don’t have to have them high fiving and lifting you on their shoulders, and there is an element of risk with putting yourself out there – they might not respond. But without that emotion and, for want of a better word, passion your pitch to your staff will become just as important as the text from an instruction manual.

How do you promote your ideas and strategies to staff? Have you found some other great ways to get people onboard? Leave a comment below to share with me (seriously, I don’t have all the answers) and other readers.

Next week: The Double-Edged Sword of Media Relations

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