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Retail focus – how internal communications makes a difference…

There’s not much difference between a colleague and a customer. In terms of how you think about your business, your propositions and your brand, we believe that you should treat colleagues in the same way you treat customers. That means needs based analysis, segmentation work; robust channel planning in terms of tools and messages, and allocating adequate resource to ensure that the issue is taken seriously.

It’s also critical to realise the value of managing brand equity among colleagues in the same way you manage brand equity among customers. And, most importantly, understanding how that equity can help you to sustain a profitable business in the long-term.

Driving a loyal, bonded customer base and a loyal, bonded colleague base is the Holy Grail for the future of sustainable growth. One buys and continues to buy from you; one strives and creates value for you in a different way. Both are profit centres.

We believe that brands work in people’s hearts. People join an organisation and feel proud and excited to work for it in a very similar way to how customers get excited about buying its products and services. People give of themselves for great brands.

As consumers, social media now enables us to broadcast our brand opinions in an immediate and far-reaching way. If the customer experience doesn’t match the brand promise, a sizeable chunk of the brand’s marketing spend is wasted. The in-store experience will dictate how customers view the brand. Increasingly, customer experience is becoming a tangible marketing component of brand strategy. And every customer’s experience is held in the hands of your people.

That’s why retail is a particularly exciting sector for internal communications professionals. We are privileged to have an opportunity to help create brand advocacy, which, in turn, drives customer service and sales returns. Ultimately, we can, and do, make a difference to the bottom line.