When you think about expanding your brand, remember that there’s another big “people aspect” besides your customer base – your own employees. What do you do when your own workforce isn’t engaged in your brand? How do you inspire them to excellence, especially now that we’ve got four distinct generations working side by side for the first time in our history. You’ve got the Traditionalists or the Radio Generation, people, who grew up in the shadow of the Depression and World War II. Then you’ve got the huge group of Baby Boomers who have dominated the workplace for the last 30 years, but are now set to retire, taking decades of experience and expertise with them. Then the Gen X-ers, a much smaller group who saw virtually every institution their parents believed in fail – marriage, corporations, education and politics. And finally, the Millenials or Gen Y-ers, 80 million on their way into the workforce, but possibly still not enough to fill those empty boomer spots.
How do you create an engaged team out of these divergent groups? According to the head of Inclusion and Diversity at AOL who I recently interviewed for my podcast, it’s not the old melting pot theory. As she says, it’s more of a gumbo, where everything blends together but you retain all the distinct flavors and spice notes of each unique personality. That’s what I tried to do when I was recruited to head up corporate communications at Universal Television. The studio had just gone through a change of ownership. I came in with the new guard and inherited a staff of very nervous people.
My first day, I called them all together in my office and asked, “Hey, has anyone been on that new Jurassic Park ride?” When they realized it wasn’t a trick question, they mumbled no. (Apparently, no one had set foot outside their own cubicles in years.) Excited at the opportunity to help them reinvest in the Universal brand, I said, “Great! We’re going on a field trip.” We spent that day like tourists, riding rides, taking the tram tour, eating burgers at the Backlot café. And most importantly, breaking down barriers and reinvesting in a key message around the Universal brand: Fun!
Decide what you company’s key branding messages are, and help your team to rediscover them in a fun, non-stressful way if you can – and definitely remember that trust and respect and authentic engagement are all part of your personal brand.
Until next time!
Libby Gill Branding Expert, Bestselling Author, and Keynote Speaker
PS: Tune in all year long for my 365 Branding Blog! If you’re in a hurry, and don’t have a year to digest and implement one tip at a time, definitely grab my 1-Day Web Makeover DVD series. You can find it at http://LibbyGill.com/store