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Building a Business Brand: When Internal and External Customer Experiences Don't Match

Updated on April 5, 2013
courtesy imagerymajestic
courtesy imagerymajestic | Source

Brand building in business, particularly customer focused businesses, is dependent on a consistent message, and nothing undermines a consistent message more than leaders who think their company mantras are for somebody else.

Then again, is there really such a thing as a business that’s not customer focused? Ultimately, business success relies on a consistent experience between the employees and their work environment and between the employees and their customers. When a business doesn’t treat its employees the same way it treats its customers, the brand suffers.

No matter the industry, employees throughout the world share this common experience: bad bosses, CEO’s who put cute posters on the wall about teamwork and then go behind their employees’ back to change work without consulting anyone, middle management shills who seem to have their jobs for no other reason than who they're related to, highly-paid executives whose version of “managing” is screaming at the top of their lungs like babies because they have absolutely no idea about how to motivate their employees. Almost every one of us has experienced somebody like this in our work life and it’s one of the most frustrating, demotivating professional experiences ever.

The ultimate CEO – the ultimate manager – is the individual who practices what he or she preaches. It’s an individual who sees criticism not as a personal affront, but as an opportunity to grow and learn. In fact, the ultimate manager creates an environment where criticism is welcome and employees aren’t afraid to offer up their ideas without fear of reprisal. The goal of any great business is to get better all the time. When that’s the goal, the brand improves.

Brands are destroyed when hypocrisy rules and the culture of an organization is devoured by the battle between high ideals and petty personality conflicts. The worst such example of this is when a company’s leader tasks his employees with developing company cultural goals and then undermines them with poor leadership and behavior. The message sent is that the goals are for the employees and not the leader. When every employee, including the leader, is held to the same standard, the business and its brand thrive.

What’s the solution to this problem?


  • The first step in solving cultural problems within an organization (or making sure they don’t exist in the first place) is making sure all managers are put through rigorous management training, are taught the values the company holds dear, and are held accountable for practicing them. It’s more common than not that businesses assume employees with management experience have been trained properly and rarely is it the case. Managing people is one of the hardest skills in business and is rarely practiced well. Everyone in an organization has to be working under the same management principles or the organization will flounder.

Ferocious 360 Evaluating

  • There’s no better practice for a CEO or any leader than to understand what his or her employees really think. While the results might not be pretty, the true leader isn’t afraid of the answers. The true leader is always committed to asking the right questions.

Commitment to Values Through Reorganization

  • A great CEO is committed to the values he or she establishes. The great leader makes sure that other leaders within the company are adhering to those values. When the CEO or leader discovers that somebody under them isn’t adhering to those values, they act fast and make sure that person either gets on board or finds another place to work.


Submit a Comment
  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Valuable tips here on The Undermining of a Business Brand: When Internal and External Customer Experiences Don't Match. To the point and is useful too


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