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Inside Out: How To Build A Thriving Workplace Brand
By: Forbes
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Love All Serve All.  This has been the corporate mantra at Hard Rock since 1971. While it was created as a customer-focused corporate purpose, it is one that shines out, and shines in. This company was ahead of its time in creating a culture where employees are encouraged to be themselves, from the hotel store clerk who could be a ringer for a member of ZZ Top to a waitress who dazzles you with music factoids while taking your order to a bellman with full-sleeve tattoos. And this ethos has created a strong, positive culture where people are, literally, comfortable in their skin and feel loyal to the brand. As a result, this seems to create an atmosphere in Hard Rock franchise establishments—from restaurants to hotels—where employees seem to want to do their best. “We don’t mind the people who work here being different; they can be who they are as long as they do a damn good job,” one manager told me recently.

In a marketplace where even powerful corporate brands scramble to recruit top talent and then struggle to retain it, there are huge opportunities for companies that understand their brand message has to reach both ways: That message needs to be received loud and clear and genuinely believed both externally and internally, because employees aren’t just the individuals that fulfill a brand promise, they’re also the individuals that make up the brand.

Increasingly, successful brands will be those that embrace authenticity in the workforce—whatever that means for a given company. For Hard Rock, a former client, it is about letting employees be themselves while still pushing for excellent service. More important, successful brands must treat employees like customers—understanding their needs and wants and inspiring employees to make a conscious choice every day to be part of the team. This is critical for good business—and for good branding. How to build a brand from the inside out?

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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. You'll find a link to the original after the post. www.forbes.com
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