Words of Wilson will teach you each month to better understand, develop and manage your most valuable resource – your people.

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If you invested in a new marketing initiative or rebrand this year, did you include a parallel plan to align your organization with your strategy? If not, your business and your brand may be working at cross-purposes. Here’s why:

Transforming your logo, truck wraps, website, customer materials and messaging to drive new performance goals requires the support of everyone in your company to walk the talk. Based on our years of experience helping companies accelerate growth, we’ve learned that owners often underestimate the many moving parts that are needed to deliver new brand value propositions.

Tom Oyler, my partner at Wilson-Oyler Group, and I stressed the concept of “think to link” – that means systems, processes, organizational structures, job roles, and critical functions such as marketing/sales and operations must be linked at the hip. Operations must be built to execute what marketing is driving and what sales is selling.

Here’s how to achieve the “think to link” concept:

Leadership:

Involve your executive team in the creation of your new brand so they can better inspire your team to become invested in the process and have a stake in the result.

Brand behaviors:

Make on-brand behaviors part of your culture’s desired norms by defining expectations for performance and measure accordingly. For example, if your brand promise is “customer first,” then behaviors that drive this message become individual performance metrics. Identifying desired behaviors will help maintain internal alignment through all levels of your company.

Implement training:

Provide training around your new brand messaging and positioning goals. Cover the key components of your strategy and help your employees understand the role they play in your brand story. Provide cross-functional training to ensure that sales, operations and production teams are aligned with new ways of selling and delivering.

Research:

Gather customer intelligence through surveys to better understand your customer. This has two advantages: 1) you can use the data to close the gap between your customers’ expectations and the reality of what you deliver, and 2) it will make your brand customer-centric. Find out what your customers think of you, what they want and what their industry trends and needs are. Then, build your brand and your services to meet those needs.

From the front desk to the back office, everyone should know your new brand story and be able to give the same elevator speech.
Sales strategy:

Create an actionable sales plan to move your brand forward. Engage, empower and train your account managers and business developers to promote your new marketing and brand goals. From the front desk to the back office, everyone should know your new brand story and be able to give the same elevator speech.

Systems/processes:

Make sure your company can support your new goals by auditing and updating your systems, processes and your organization’s ability to deliver, track and manage customer experience. If as part of your new branding you consolidate your service lines to eliminate ambiguity, then you need to reorganize and sync internal systems to manage the consolidation in the delivery channel.

Culture:

Implement a plan to manage change. This includes getting your whole organization excited about your new direction. Operations must be able to adapt to new promises. Sales must be fluent in your new messaging. If not, your customers will let you know that your service isn’t living up to what you’re promoting.

Whether you are pursuing a comprehensive rebrand or continuous improvement in brand messaging, getting your team involved in the process will drive ownership. When the whole organization is aligned, briefed and trained to support your growth goals, everyone benefits from its success. The confidence of your sales people and account managers grows, and the customer retains confidence in your credibility.

In other words, new brand, old culture is just window dressing. New brand, new culture will bring your values to life.

Bruce Wilson is principal of green industry consulting firm Bruce Wilson & Company.