Your Brand Can Only Be As Good As …

[Our guest blogger is Cool Friend Steve Yastrow. Find out more about Steve at Yastrow.com.]

No matter how good your product is, no matter how good your marketing and sales are, no matter how cool your ad agency is ...

Your external brand can never be stronger than your internal brand.

In other words, what your customers think of you can never be better than what your employees think of you. At least not for very long.

It's impossible to fake out your customers. Our world has become very transparent, and your customers can see, clearly, right into the soul of your company. If you want your customers to have clear, compelling, motivating beliefs about who you are and what you do for customers, you must ensure that your company's employees have those beliefs. Otherwise, your marketing and sales promises will not resonate with the reality of being your customer.

I often ask executives if they can name one person in their company who does have some effect on the customer experience, even if that effect is indirect. No one has ever been able to name one person. (Although someone did once mention the character in the movie Office Space who covets his stapler and is relegated to an office in the basement. 'Nuff said.) Yet few companies invest adequately in building the brand inside their company. They figure it's covered by the training budget or, more frequently, they just don't do anything about it.

There is a clear connection between what your employees believe about you and how much money you make. Are you investing enough in your internal brand?