A CEO-driven initiative is ultimately more effective than one led only by middle-management, because leadership truly has the power to drive culture transformation and ensure brand alignment with the company’s vision and goals.
A CEO can:
- align and engage an organization with the brand,
- set expectations and be an example for all to follow,
- help eliminate silos through greater collaboration,
- create a culture of accountability for delivering consistently positive employee and customer experiences.
I recently sat down with Bob Doyle, CEO (and Brand Integrity client) who really gets it. In the last year, he’s implemented a successful experience management initiative that has “improved both customer and employee retention rates, paying for itself many times over.”
Here’s what he had to say about culture transformation and why communication needs to start at the top:
“In order to be consistent, the message needs to start at the top and it must be delivered with passion. If you rely only on middle-management to deliver the message, you’ll get different interpretations of what the message should be. Of course you want your managers to believe, support, and participate in the delivery, but ask four people to communicate something for you, and you’ll get four different stories. So leadership needs to be personally involved to drive the message and ensure it’s communicated consistently and effectively.”
Creating Customers for Life
In order to create loyal customers, a company needs to deliver a great experience, or rather, they need their employees to deliver a great experience. Employees are your greatest marketing advantage. They distinguish your company in a way that helps customers experience the why and how you’re unique from the competition.
So what’s a CEO to do?
The CEO’s role must be one of brand champion. This role will help ensure that the company’s brand strategy is implemented, instead of becoming just another “thing” that everyone should do. Here are three things leaders can start to do today to ensure greater success:
#1. Be visible.
Employees need to see you (literally) leading the effort, they need to know that you truly believe in its value and its impact. Get out and develop relationships with your employees. This also allows you the valuable opportunity to hear what’s really going on from those that directly interact with your customers.
#2. Give feedback regularly.
Recognize employees often with specific feedback on what they did well. Help them connect to the purpose and how their individual efforts fit in with the big picture. Giving their work greater meaning helps them realize they’re working for a company they can be proud of. The CEO can drive a company culture that affects each of these.
#3. Demonstrate quick wins.
Make it a point to regularly update employees on progress. Show them how their feedback led to actionable improvements in process, employee, and customer experiences. You have to walk the talk and show you’re prepared to make changes that improve the experience. Once your employees realize their input is valued, they’ll open up more and be more motivated to follow your example.
In summary, engage employees to deliver the desired brand experience every day, and you’ll be better positioned to retain them. When those good employees deliver consistently great customer experiences, you’ll create and retain more loyal customers.
In the end, it’s all about people—retaining the right people, and empowering them to help differentiate your company from the competition. The right people keep you in business and grow your profitability.