I’m not sure if it’s come true or not, but a year ago Gartner was predicting that right about now the Chief Marketing Officer will officially outspend the Chief Information Officer when it comes to technology. That suggests they should hang out more.
Alignment between marketing and IT and marketing and sales has been a thing for ages, and as far as I can tell, it’s sucking up a lot of cycles with not a ton of success. Here’s an alignment for marketing that not only makes sense, but has a very high probability of ending well. Say hello to your new friends in HR.
You heard that right. Yes, yes, I know, I complain all the time about how terrible marketing recruiting is, but the truth is, for brand marketers, your best friends are just down the hall in the human resources department.
The biggest threat to any brand is the people left in charge of it. That would be employees, if you’re wondering. The people who are good at talking to the people in charge of the brand are the people in HR, with the help of your employee communications team.
The biggest threat to your brand is your people
Employee communications teams can be hard to find. They may sit in marketing; they may sit in HR; they may sit in a hall somewhere not entirely sure where they report. But day after day they crank out executive videos, speeches, town halls and, heaven help us, newsletters. They manage the intranet, they control the bulletin boards (okay, not really, but stay with me) and they more or less own the executive-to-employee talk track. These people are your secret warrior tribe when it comes to your brand.
The biggest opportunity for your brand is your people
If the biggest threat to your brand is your people, then the biggest opportunity to get it right, is, you guessed it, your people. To be sure, your people will make mistakes that hurt the brand, and we’ve talked recently about the need to make sure your frontline folks know how to deal with it when they do.
But there is also the day-to-day reality of your company and that, much more than how you clean up the occasional mess, is what determines brand perception. How your customers experience everything from your products and services to your invoices, support centre and documentation are the bricks that build your brand.
This experience is, fundamentally, in the hands of your workforce, which means they (and your brand) succeed only to the extent they are properly trained, managed, supported and engaged.
All that training and leadership and engagement stuff is HR’s wheelhouse. That is what they are there to solve. What’s more, they have a strong and growing interest in building a good employer brand and employee value proposition because that helps recruiting and retention, both of which are also HR’s wheelhouse. This is looking a lot like alignment to me.
A thing we sometimes forget is that our employees interact with our brand a lot more than our customers do. Their day-to-day experience of our systems, processes, leadership and culture are part of the brand experience, too. Marketers, lately have a renewed interest in employee advocacy. It seems to me that our chances of getting employees to be brand ambassadors are a lot higher if they are having a good daily brand experience.
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BizMarketer is written by Elizabeth Williams
I help companies have better conversations
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org