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BizReport : Advertising archives : May 12, 2015

Brands: Have you lost your values?

When a company is smaller, certain habits, processes and responsibilities are understood implicitly and mirrored without needing to spell them out or enforce them. Small, tight teams witness how each teammate operates and reacts to any given situation, and then they learn from and model themselves accordingly.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: As brands grow some of the initial values of that brand can be lost, why is that?

Peter Holten Muhlmann, CEO of Trustpilot: As the company grows, it reaches certain thresholds in its number of employees and then the layout of relationships and management begin to change. For example, when the team grows beyond 120 people, you have employees who might not know one another, and few who really know everyone's story beyond having a grasp of their name and title. It's no longer as easy, or even possible, for the team to pick up the culture by osmosis. This disconnect can prevent employees from fully recognizing their impact on the rest of the company, or their contribution to the company culture and mission. That's why it's imperative for leaders to focus on culture through stages of growth, and encourage employees whenever possible to get involved in the company network and be aware of their value.

Kristina: How detrimental can it be to a company to lost sight of those initial values?

Peter: Growing companies have a tendency to fall victim to logistics. Founder and employees alike focus on the "how" and the "what" behind the team's operations because these results are measured and reported to the rest of the organization in order to prove a certain group's success or the company's growth as a whole. However, these elements don't motivate people to show up at work in the morning. Just like founders, employees are driven by the "why," the reason behind a company's mission statement and customer relations. If your team loses sight of this element, your team can lose its drive and daily tasks can seem tedious and mechanical.

I recommend my employees check out the book "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek in order to help them distinguish between the necessity of certain tasks and the bigger picture. And I make sure the "why" behind our work is stressed by everyone on our team, from myself to the executive team to the newest hire. If you're reminding your colleagues and employees about the motivation behind what you're doing, and you evolve and reinforce this message as the company grows, the resulting mindset is one that fosters team spirit and great customer service.

Kristina: What about the consumer angle - when those values change, what happens to the customer?

Peter: Customer satisfaction is directly impacted by employee satisfaction. Customers can tell when they're doing business with a company that isn't focused on its mission or recognize each customer as an individual. This might cause the customer to find other brands. This reaction must be avoided at all costs, as your customers help you solidify your message and increase awareness among your target market. Maintaining a sense of brand transparency and building customer loyalty throughout your company's growth should be your top focus.

That sense of "why" that you're instilling among your employees directly supports these efforts. Company leaders should highlight the connection between positive customer feedback and each employee's efforts in order to drive this message home. If you gather customer reviews, particularly for inquiries like customer support, that mention great experiences with the brand, employees can see that their work doesn't just result in closing support tickets, but rather, they're making people happy.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, brand focus, brand identity, TrustPilot

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