Does your brand include your most important customer?

So you’ve developed a comprehensive strategy for rolling out your latest brand iteration, your new Values and Vision, or your latest product or offering. You’ve spared no expense on acquiring data and insights into your customers. You’ve engaged the latest on-trend, start-up, creative agency to deliver an experiential customer launch. Your digital strategy makes Google look like amateurs.

And now you just have to make sure you tell employees by writing them an email from the CEO, writing an intranet article and doing a desk drop. You may even go one further and do a video message.

Somehow, in our ever-increasing customer-centric world, where the customer is an individual and our marketing exploits and escapades are eerily tailored to each person’s needs, interests and latest internet search, we continue to develop communication for our employees that is overly-corporate, generic, completely uninspiring and somewhat late in the process.

Most of us are guilty of delivering information after the fact as a by-product of external marketing campaigns. Once the customer marketing plan has been developed and rolled out, or the press release sent out, or the new product launched, then we prepare something to bring our employees up to speed. The message is often an afterthought – an ‘oh hey, this happened’.

Sadly, marketing campaigns that celebrate the brand are often disconnected from those who actually deliver on our promises. Campaigns can easily fail when the public message is not fully supported and actualised by the internal team.

To ensure strong delivery on brand promises, employees need to be moved up into the broader picture and considered as another customer group.

They should be included and engaged right from the beginning of strategy development. By approaching an employee with the same individual, considered, data-centric and creative approach that you do other customers, you’ll be creating an invaluable source of early adopters, brand ambassadors, influencers and evangelists!

Here we are spending money, time and effort on Instagram influencers when we might have up to 2,000 employees who have an Instagram account. Even if they each only had 10 followers, if they all posted something positive about your brand or company, how much reach would that give you?

What if your employees were able to experience products, services, new initiatives, and pilots along with early adopters? They could be sharing via Facebook, Snapchat, forums…

Imagine an entire group of people who could confidently and positively speak about your organisation to all of their friends and family on a daily basis on LinkedIn, at a BBQ or Friday night at drinks.

And what if we gave them the kind of kudos and love we give our evangelists? What if we recognised them for being brand loyal? What if we treated them like VIP customers?

By only communicating with your employees as an afterthought, you’re missing the value of an entire group of people who know your brand and could love it and advocate for it more than any other group.

To access their value to your brand, employees should be the new customer and engaged with inspiring, creative and innovative communications worthy of the VIPs they are.