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Anchor Waves Newsletter – August 2013

It Pays To Preach To The Choir

All of your target audiences are important – including internal ones.

One of our former clients was a nice restaurant. They had good food, but had developed something of a reputation for slow service. This, in turn, led to weak lunch traffic – after all, who wanted to go to lunch if the food came so slowly that you didn’t have time to eat it?

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They asked us to help change their image. We accepted the challenge, and one of the first things we did was to help them develop an aggressive “lunch guarantee” that promised your order in 30 minutes or less. Restaurant ownership thought it was a great idea and agreed to an introductory campaign that included several different media.

We launched the program, and we were sure that it was going to be a winner. To celebrate, several employees went to the restaurant for lunch. Because our management contacts weren’t around, nobody recognized the Anchor team. Ironically, their food took longer than 30 minutes to deliver. Worse yet, when asked about the 30-minute guarantee that was featured in the full-page newspaper ad – the waitress had never heard of it! Adding insult to injury, she took a surly attitude about the whole thing, making her customers feel foolish.

The problem wasn’t the promotion. Nope, the concept was right on. The real problem was that restaurant management had done a poor job of communicating with their employees about the promotion. The idea had been conveyed successfully to the outside audience (potential diners) but not to the inside audience (employees). If you’ve been reading our newsletters throughout the years, you know how important touchpoints are. Well, a lot of negative touchpoints (bad service, sloppy paperwork, poor problem solving) are simply the result of external and internal communication that are out of alignment.

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Think about your own company. Does everyone understand the corporate core brand purpose and follow the same procedures when it comes to service? Does your back office staff comprehend the goals of the front line team? Do either of them know what the production crew is trying to accomplish? Most importantly, do they understand that all of their own individual goals work toward the company’s shared goals?

If you aren’t sure how to answer these questions, you may need to focus more of your energy on identifying your core brand purpose and brand promise, and then communicating these brand essentials to your internal audiences: your employees, your management team, even your vendors. If you really want to build a strong brand, start from the inside out. After all, nobody will believe your marketing claims of being the “fastest company in town” if your staff moves in slow motion. Instead, turn your employees (and their families) into evangelists for your brand by letting them know exactly what the brand message is. Then remind them regularly.

Some of our most successful clients spend nearly as much money marketing to their internal audience(s) as they do to their external ones. If your sales staff is important – especially in today’s geographically extended virtual offices – then you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Don’t waste your money by presenting mixed messages about the brand you are trying to build.

By the way, the restaurant from the beginning of this story is no longer in business. And while we never like to lose a client, we could see it coming. Their outside messages and inside messages never matched up, and their customers could tell.

Take control of your communications! Let our brand strategists give you some tips for aligning your messages and target audiences. Give us a call today.