If your staff does not get it, neither will the customer!

questionI came across a fantastic post on Justin Levy’s That’s Great PR! blog. Since the most successful startups are in constant mode of evolution, internal communications are crucial. We can’t afford to not have 100% of our team behind us. The subject of internal marketing and communication strategies is important in any economy.

One of the biggest branding/marketing failures I have seen in my career was due to decisions made in a vacuum. The founders were all fired up about the new strategy, but they failed to market it to the staff. They were the only people in the company who were involved in the process. Worse yet, since founders never really sold the service, they had no idea how customers perceived the brand. Staff refused to use new marketing materials and new terminology. It took a while, but founders had to go back to the drawing board after dumping all that money. Unfortunately, money was not the only resource wasted. Morale took a huge hit too.

How do we make sure to stay clear from such a huge landmine?
#1. Involve your staff in crafting the marketing strategy. View from the front lines is much more detailed than the one from the command room. No one lost from extensive brainstorming with the team. WARNING: if your team is not pounding the streets, than everyone needs to get out of the building and get in front of the customers. I don’t believe that there is such thing as interacting too much with a customer. For a great primer on the importance of customer development and what happens if you don’t, please watch
a fantastic lecture Steve Blank has delivered at Stanford.
#2. If you can’t sell the new strategy to the staff, you will not be able to sell it to the customer. It is that simple.

Photo credit: Alexander Henning Drachmann

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