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your people are your brand

The most important part of your brand that no one tells you

Most people think their brand is defined by their logo, marketing materials, website, and a whole slew of other things. While those things are important and they play a role in attracting prospective customers and converting them, there is actually one thing that is more important to your brand than anything else.

In this article, we will explain why your people determine how your brand is perceived and positioned more than any other factor. 

Your people are your brand.

People associated with your company determines who does business with you and how your company is perceived. “People” can be broken down into two groups: internal and external.

We are going to take a look at both groups and explain what role each plays in building your brand, then we will give some tips on how you can improve your people to improve your brand.

How internal people affect your brand

Your team plays a much more important role than just doing their job. While they must be able to perform on the job, their work for your brand exceeds the workplace. In fact, the bulk of their work happens outside 9-5, for better…or for worse.

The first thing you have to remember is that your employees have regular lives. When they leave their place of work, they pour their energy into family, friends, and community. How do they do this? Through socializing in-person,  on the phone, or on social media.

Why does this matter to you?

Every person has a personal brand. They see themselves in a certain manner. Maybe they portray a person who has an appreciation for craft, a person who is driven, or a person who cares about health. They also align themselves mentally and physically based on their ambition, mindset, and socioeconomic status.

When your employees put out their personal branding message, that immediately gets associated with your company and becomes part of your brand. What their friends,  family, and community think of them, they associate with your company because you employ that person based on the exact same qualities.

Now think about how many people work for your company, how many interactions they have outside of work, and what message they are spreading.

That’s how your company is being perceived.

Opposites don't attract

Now we are going to connect the dots on how those internal people affect your customer base. Let’s assume your business is a unicorn—your employees live in some sort of Squid Game setup where they don’t ever leave work and interact with friends and family.

At the very least, they will interact with customers, vendors, or any other partner entity your business has. The most important interaction here is the one with the customer.

Remember how your people are outside of work? They are the same at work. Which means your customers experience their “brand.”

In the case of doing business,  opposites never attract. One of the key strategies in sales is mirroring, which is the act of literally doing the same thing as your customer. 

Why? Because people want to buy from people they like, and everyone likes themselves. People want to feel comfortable in a purchase. Sometimes, the customer may even want to feel like their purchase decision is elevating them from their current position.

Why does this matter? Because if your team doesn’t represent your ideal customer, then you won’t get your ideal customer. You will get the customer that mirrors your team.

Improve your people and you will improve your customer base.

How external people affect your brand

We have made the connection from internal people to external people. Now let’s look at how external people affect your brand post-transaction.

Just like your internal people, you customer are, well, people. That means they too have their personal brand. Oh boy.

Yep, they are going out into the world telling people they do business with you, for better…or worse. Their personal brands become part of your brand. At this point, the marketing message is exponential. There’s no way you can control or monitor the message.

The same principle remains true: opposites do not attract. So whoever mirrors your customer base will become a prospect and ultimately your customer.

Birds of a feather flock together.

 

How to get better customers

So here’s the good news. You can control this simply by picking the right team. Choosing team members should be about more than their skills and capabilities. You want to understand their core values. What are the things they value, their aspirations, things they align with, and their lifestyle?

While most people will complain about their social media being factored into their employment, it’s very important to review. No need to dig up the old college photos. What were the last 10 posts? Where are they in life now?

This is the brand that will determine your brand.

So what to do? Better people cost more money. You’re right. It won’t be easy, but it will be impactful. Everything has a cause and effect. One change can ripple through your business. But that ripple can be for the better.

Here’s how this looks: