Writing memorable content to build your brand: 4 questions to ask key employees

Organizations that use great stories and memorable content to build their brand are also more likely to succeed at proactively managing their reputation during a time of crisis.

In a PRSA Tactics article, Tom Gable, CEO of Gable PR in San Diego, outlined these 6 steps for building brands with great stories and memorable content.

In addition to Tom’s six steps, I would also add “leverage internal stakeholders” or key employees to build your company’s brand. This will also help you manage your company’s reputation.

Four questions to ask key employees are:

1. What makes you most proud of this company’s products, its service, and its image?

2. What motivates you to give your time and expertise to this company day in and day out year after year?

3. What is your favorite example of this company going above and beyond to serve a customer or client?

4. If you could tell this organization’s clients or customers one important thing about this company that they may not know, what would it be?

While it is a good idea to create a list of key employees (research step) to get their great stories, case histories and anecdotes, you should also tell these stakeholders about your branding efforts and ask for their buy-in and support as you go about implementing your plan.

In going through the different segments that you are trying to reach with your brand-building efforts (target industries, media, investors, customers and future customers) add senior level employees to the list. They are often times good spokespeople and they can have a big impact on moving the plan forward by helping you reach important external audiences.

Key employees are also a critical audience to have on board during a crisis. Nora Carr, APR and chief of staff for Guilford County Schools in North Carolina, says that 82 percent of crises that occur in organizations are people-oriented. And of those, 42 percent are management-oriented. Carr recommends that in a crisis it is important to always go “inside out” and communicate with employees first. “Employees are either your ambassadors or your worse critics,” Carr said.

Making sure employees understand your brand and your branding plan is a win-win scenario.

Another reason to solicit employee involvement in your branding plan is that they can provide insight into how the organization is perceived by various audiences that, in turn, will have an impact on how you craft your company’s message to those audiences.

I’ve seen influential employees left out of the brand image planning process due to time and budget constraints. When this happens companies miss out on tapping a valuable resource.

Asking key employees for contributions to and feedback on your branding plan will show them that you value their opinions. You will have a better relationship with them during a crisis response. And, you will also receive greater buy-in and support from them over the long term.

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