Time for a Secret Weapon


Right now, every marketer is asking him or herself how to adjust their brand strategy for the current economic climate. Boost ad dollars to take advantage of competitors who might be holding back? Keep a low but steady profile? Shift the advertising strategy to reflect a new set of consumer priorities? Deploy social media?

All fair responses, some of which may even be necessary, but all of these choices overlook one element that is critical (and especially vulnerable) during an economic downturn: your employees and their faith in your brand.

During an economic downturn, both can take a real beating. And this directly impacts everything, from productivity and corporate culture to relationships with clients, and, ultimately, your company's survival.

No matter who you are, your people are your biggest asset. In the services industry, however, your people are also the brand. The impression they make is why people want to work with you (or not), and they're the ones that instill your business with energy and integrity. They're the crucial part of your brand experience that makes your promise real.

Many organizations underestimate the power of this. Leadership may also mistakenly assume that employees know what leadership is thinking, what the company is doing, how much they're valued, and what's being invested in them. Quite often, they do not.
It's easy to think that your most valued people will be more loyal now than ever -- they want to keep their jobs, right? Most likely, yes, but when the economy turns, if they weren't feeling valued or appreciated when times were tough, they may be the first ones out the door.

If anything, now is the time to reenergize, refocus and reintroduce your employees to your brand. If done right, this can help employees feel more engaged in the company and help build a company's soul and culture -- attributes that can go a long way to help weather rough times.

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