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Opinion: 5 internal practices to increase brand value

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Do your customers enjoy doing business with you? Do they recognize your brand as one that values its customers and employees?

Investing time in activities that show employees they are valued and appreciated is crucial to establishing brand recognition. Each employee is a brand ambassador for your business. Your brand ambassadors need to be an asset to your brand.

Are your employees positive or negative brand ambassadors? How do they interact with customers? What are they saying about the organization in public and private conversations?

You want their actions to say, “I want to grow with this organization; I want to be here.”

An analysis of organizations of all sizes in various industries indicates a direct correlation between genuine appreciation and positive brand recognition. Annually, Glassdoor reviews companies worldwide and publishes the Best Places to Work according to employees. LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Lululemon, Southwest Airlines, Salesforce, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Trader Joe’s are among the top companies.

Why do we recognize these brands? We use many of them. They are profitable, recognizable brands that appreciate their employees.

How can gratitude and appreciation help your company become a recognized brand? Glassdoor’s interviewees noted many similarities. Many wrote about the culture with statements indicating a high level of care for the employees and the customers. Others said it “feels like I am working for the ‘best’ company.”

Several wrote about a supportive culture, one that “challenges yet supports.” Numerous employees mentioned opportunities for growth and community give-back events. Fun, supportive and collaborative cultures were frequently identified as being treated with respect and encouraged to engage with customers. As one interviewee noted, “the(y) focus on their greatest resource: people.”

Do your employees make similar statements to others? Expressing sincere gratitude and appreciation to your employees can help.

As brand ambassadors, employees contribute to the organization’s brand recognition. Often, they determine how customers and the community view the business. Advertising and marketing may get the customers’ attention, but it is the personal connections that make or break a deal.

We enjoy doing business with people who appreciate us. These feelings of appreciation stem from the company culture. Customers sense a lack of appreciation in the company culture if employees are not kind and respectful of each other. Practicing and expressing genuine care and gratitude throughout the organization starts with the CEO/president.

What would a canvass of your employees reveal? Many local companies rate high on Glassdoor.com. However, achieving and holding a high rank is not a one and done. Maintaining a high level of support and appreciation for your employees requires consistent effort and creativity.

Try the following expressions of gratitude to help take your brand to the next level. As you convey appreciation, consider what is meaningful to them and keep it top of mind.

1. Treat them to a night out. Buy two tickets to a local game, performance or event they enjoy. Send them off for a fun night on the town with a friend. The employee, the business, the school or nonprofit and the local economy benefit from your generosity.

2. Write a handwritten note. Personally deliver it with a latte as a fun way to say, “Thanks a latte.” Specifically, note what it is you appreciate about them. Avoid saying, “Thanks for all you do.” It’s cliche and doesn’t convey a true meaning.

3. Select a birthday card for them signed by the CEO, their boss and colleagues. It’s always nice to be remembered. No need to make a note of the number; respect their privacy.

4. Celebrate their work anniversary. There are several ways to celebrate the milestone. Consider giving them the day off or letting them go home early. A gift card to their favorite eatery or shop.

5. Be supportive. How do you know what supportive means to your employees? Listen to them. Discover what they want. Let them know you care about them and their needs. Support can range from training for growth to a tool or resource they need or an encouraging word. You will not know unless you listen and ask.

Practice thinking of each employee as a brand ambassador. Each expression of gratitude, any action that encourages and every reminder of their value as a person builds a loyal employee and a stronger brand.

LaDonna Greiner is the author of the “21 Reasons to Say Thank You” series, a photographer and a motivational speaker with a focus on gratitude. She serves as national immediate past chair of the Association of Women in Communication. She can be reached at ladonna.g@21reasons.life.

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