Patagonia, the outdoor wear company, thinks that all employees must believe in the products they sell to customers.
Since its inception in 1973, there is a standing policy of letting employees go surfing. Located near the beach in California, the policy allows for people to leave the office when there is perfect surf (or any other outdoor activity).
If the swell is up, it’s not unusual for wetsuits and towels hanging around the office building.
The company is of the opinion that it’s cruel to hire people who love to be outdoors and keep them locked up in the office.
Dean Carter, head of shared services, says, “Other than helping to refresh the mind, encouraging employees to leave the office for outdoor activities fosters a strong belief in the product they’re selling with employees being encouraged to test out their apparel regularly. If an employee really believes in the product, it will come across to the client.”
HR is the best PR
A brand is people’s perception of a company. And this perception is the summation of all interactions the company has with people. There’s no shortage of touchpoints to create emotional connections with customers. However, it requires ensuring that every interaction is leaving them with an experience that strengthens the desired brand perception.
If all people representing the company – sales, customer service, product development, do not understand the impact they have on the brand – then the company’s brand-building efforts get contained only to building a promise, while the organisation falls short in meeting those promises on multiple fronts.
So, what makes sense is to build a culture that enables the brand.
A common misunderstanding is that marketing is responsible for building the brand and HR owns building culture. How does this overlap?
Many companies limit the role of HR to just hiring and payroll. But, the Human Resources team is tied to brand building more closely than it appears.
The HR team is a key stakeholder in nurturing people who are highly-engaged at the workplace, thus enabling a robust brand in the market (and specifically in the job market).
So, here are 3 areas that the HR team can focus on to build the brand:
Company Core Story – The Core Story is a central narrative for the company that the HR team adopts in all of their people-related actions, processes, and activities.
Communication Plan – Align all internal and external communication to the larger communication strategy of the organisation.
Company Culture – focus on growing leaders and managers who shape the organisation’s operating culture to support and grow the brand.
The Human Resources team is a crucial brand enabler. And the business will benefit only when leadership recognises this and strategically allows this team to play a larger role in the brand’s journey.
About The Author
Vinod Krishna is a brand storytelling trainer and consultant at DustyPaths.
He brings 3 decades of experience in leading people, projects, and businesses
to forge new paths in brand storytelling and leadership development.
He is an avid barefoot runner, trekker, theater artist, and photographer.
Connect with him on LinkedIn