Aligning your 'say' with your 'do'
We all know the type of person: the one whose words don’t quite match up with how they act.
We probably all know a brand like that, too. You know, where the jolly tone of voice and quirky marketing aren’t backed up by the personal experience we’ve had of their product, customer service or recruitment process?
Misalignments like this only do one thing: they break trust.
So how can you avoid being one of those companies?
It’s all about brand alignment.
What is brand alignment?
Ok, so brand alignment is the art of ensuring that your company’s ‘say’ matches your ‘do’. It’s about making sure your promises match your actions, and that what you talk about in your marketing and communications is backed up by what’s actually happening in your organisation.
Why is it important? Well, when you get it right, you’ll be a trusted, authentic organisation that people want to work for.
When you get it wrong, you’ll not only find you’re fighting a war for talent, but a war for retention.
More than a logo
Your brand is more than a catchy slogan or great design. It’s the collective image and identity of your organisation. It’s also how your customers – and your employees – feel when they hear your company name.
Brand alignment means that every aspect of your business – from your products and services to your culture round the board table – should reflect and reinforce your brand.
And guess what? So should the people you hire.
Let’s take Apple. It’s the epitome of brand alignment. Their products not only look sleek but deliver high-quality user experiences. Their stores are the same. So how do they hire talent? With the same sleek, smart, intelligent marketing we know them for.
What happens in the office stays in the office, right? Sadly not. Your brand should accurately reflect what goes on in your organisation. If your brand screams creativity and innovation but new ideas are stifled, you’re not aligned. And people won’t want to work for you for very long.
Google's a great example of why authenticity is key to building trust with your employees. Its philosophy is that ‘cool things matter’ and we all know it creates groundbreaking products. But they're more than just words. They back that branding up by creating a culture of innovation by encouraging employees to spend time on personal projects.
In other words, how they act backs up what they stand for.
Values and purpose
It sounds obvious, but your brand should align with the core values and purpose of your organisation. If your brand’s all about sustainability but your operations are far from eco-friendly, people both in and outside your organisation are going to notice.
Patagonia is an outdoorsy brand known for its commitment to environmental sustainability. It also walks the walk. Its famous ‘Don’t buy this jacket’ Black Friday ad campaign told consumers to think before they buy and reduce their impact on the planet. It not only showed that the company puts ethics over profit, but highlighted Patagonia as a brand that makes long-lasting, sustainable and reusable products.
So why does brand alignment matter to your EVP?
Your EVP is what makes your organisation an attractive place to work. And brand alignment plays a huge role in shaping it. If you’ve already got an EVP that you aspire to, you’ll need to spend some time activating that within your organisation.
If it’s way off the mark, you’ll need to rethink your employer brand.
Brand alignment isn’t just a marketing buzzword. It’s what your organisation is all about. When your ‘say’ matches your ‘do’, you'll create a powerful EVP that actually means something.
Aligning your EVP with what you do day to day will do a few things:
- It will help you attract top talent. Candidates talk, but so do employees. If what you say is at odds with what happens on a Monday morning, this information will eventually trickle down. It’s called ‘reputation’ – and you should care about yours.
- You’ll have satisfied employees. Don’t underestimate the power of morale, because if employees experience a disconnect between what they were promised and the reality of their daily work, it will plummet.
- You’ll have a better company culture. A well-aligned brand gives you a strong and positive company culture. And that means your employees have a sense of belonging, making them less likely to look for a job elsewhere. For you, that means reduced recruitment costs and lower turnover.
Remember: your brand isn’t an advertising exercise. It’s a mirror reflecting the goals, purpose and motivations of your company. When it aligns with what your organisation is actually like, you'll be the trusted employer you want to be.