I’ve worked much of my career for a large, global brand that spends hundreds of millions in brand advertising. I can tell you that we always spoke about retail locations as being that place where promises made in brand advertising are delivered.
Those beautiful images, painstakingly selected advertising phrases and yes, even the most strategic offers are just words if they aren’t paid off at the point of customer contact. It’s often the actions of your employees that will bring a brand to life for your customers. So, how do you engage them and ensure that they take this responsibility seriously? Here are a few key ways to encourage your employees to deliver on your local store marketing advertising promises:
- Empower your employees to make the right decision. This might sound like common sense, but often times employees are so worried about following the “rules” that they don’t use common sense. Recently, I found myself in line at a local retailer. You probably know them, they are “at the corner of happy and healthy”. The guy in front of me was returning a package of pistachios. “I bought two packages and the first package just wasn’t very good, so I’m returning the other for a refund,” he told the clerk. She looked at his receipt, saw that he’d purchased two packages and said “Well, if you didn’t like them, I will refund the money for both packages.” “But, I don’t have the other package. Since they weren’t good, I threw them away,” he replied. She smiled and said, “No worries, you shouldn’t pay for something that didn’t meet your expectations.” He was very impressed by her actions. Heck, I was very impressed by her actions. She was empowered! Her doing the right thing brought that brand to life for us—they really do want us to be happy and healthy. Owners and Managers: Please put aside concerns about employee misuse of empowerment—you’ve got this—and will see if and when those occasions arise. Instead show appreciation for your employees’ ability to bring your brand to life, which brings us to the next key….
- Publicly recognize a job well done. Everyone wants to be recognized for a job well done, but the value of this recognition grows by leaps and bounds when it’s communicated publicly. Display an Employee of the Month plaque with a photo of the honored employee. The photo will make this employee instantly recognizable by your customers, “Hey…. Congrats you are the Employee of the Month!” I guarantee that your employee will want to live up to the promise of being this valued worker. It also reminds other employees that they are working side-by-side with a Rockstar… most will step up their game just because they are working around greatness. The small investment in a plaque and the time it takes to update it monthly will be well worth it. No one gets out of bed in the morning and says to themselves, “Today I’m going to do a horrible job.” Recognize those great efforts and leverage the strength of your employees, which is the next key to bringing a brand to life at the local level.
- Involve your employees in your local marketing plans. Your employees interact with your customers on a daily basis. They know what customers order, what they ask for and what customers are saying about the competition. Asking them what they think about a specific sales building idea is often much more insightful than any research study or customer satisfaction survey that you can do. Plus, when you incorporate their thoughts and ideas in your LSM plans… when you listen to what they have to say… they become invested in the success of those marketing plans. That investment is critical to your success and success leads to the last key that I want to discuss today…
- Encourage employees to take pride in their work. Pride is a personal commitment which separates excellence from mediocrity. When employees are proud of what they are doing, they become proud of where they work. This translates into great word-of-mouth with their friends and families, who are your customers. Make sure that each and every one of your employees is assigned a task that they can be responsible for and that they can take pride in doing. Believe that they are up to the challenge—sometimes knowing that you believe in their ability to do the job well is all it takes to motivate them to become a Rockstar.
Maximize the investment that you are making in brand advertising by bringing your brand to life at the local level. Make sure that your actions and those of your employees are speaking louder than words and that you are maximizing this important aspect of your local store marketing efforts.