It can be difficult enough to maintain a consistent personality for your brand when all your employees sit in one office building. When they’re spread out among numerous offices in locations around the world, it can seem nearly impossible to achieve consistency. But, while daunting, it is possible.
Here’s a look at how to create a brand persona that spans time zones and employee roles, along with some brand personality examples, to help you get on your way.
Start before hiring.
Consistency with your brand is what drives trust with your customers. It’s enormously important. If your brand was built on being transparent and empathetic, a customer is going to feel the inconsistency if a customer service agent seems to dodge questions or get defensive. Of course, training is crucial to ensuring your brand’s personality is embraced by your employees (see the second point below) but you can start further back than this.
Just as you do with your ideal customer personas, create a brand persona and ideal employee persona. The goal isn’t to hire people who are cookie cutters of each other, but rather to make sure you’re hiring people who internalize your values and mission. They should also understand the vibe of your brand, and be comfortable representing that.
Let’s say your brand is fun and upbeat, which is the personality for which Southwest Airlines is known. Train your hiring managers to screen for these personality traits. It’s ok if you hire someone who is quiet, as long as they smile frequently and look at the bright side. But if you hear negativity in all of a candidate’s responses, there’s a good chance that’s what customers will hear too. So you need to define what matters most with your brand personality and make sure your hiring managers are looking for those qualities (or their absence) with potential hires.
Implement global training standards.
When you’re looking to keep your brand’s personality strong across the globe, think about how to improve employee training. If the spirit of your company is not conveyed to your staff in their hiring conversations, onboarding training and beyond, they won’t know how much it matters. Dedicate a specific training to this. Give employees examples of what your brand’s personality looks like in action – and doesn’t look like. Have them role-play. Discuss how they can retain their own personality while still staying true to the brand’s personality. When you offer hands-on training like this and make it a focal point, its importance becomes clear to employees. Their representation of your brand’s personality should also be part of the criteria by which employees are measured in reviews. This way, managers can stay on top of any inconsistencies.
One important note here: The training your team delivers should be the same training at its core. But, each office will have different cultural norms, so allow for regional flexibility in your training. Also, be sure that employees understand they can adjust how they communicate to make sure it resonates with the customers in that region. For instance, maybe your brand is known as being direct and professional. Employees in a more casual area, like California, should have the freedom to make their speech a little less formal so it makes sense to the people with whom they’re speaking.
Make it easy for employees to comply.
People need something to be easy in order to be willing to do it repeatedly. Be sure you have brand guidelines, templates, approved images and content available to all of your locations for use by employees. Let them know how and when they can use certain materials, and the appropriate channels to go through if they want to use something that isn’t yet approved. This type of comprehensive training, and easy access to content that reinforces your brand personality, helps up the ante with your global consistency as well.
Finally, make sure your culture at each location reflects your brand personality. This can start with the branding that’s done internally, by using consistent color schemes, imagery and designs in order to give employees the feel of an atmosphere that mirrors your brand’s personality.
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