When reading Innocent’s weekly newsletter it’s exactly as you would expect – cheeky, irreverent and quirky.
What’s interesting, however, is just how big of a part their people play in the company’s overall brand. I particularly love the weekly snippets about what’s happening inside of Fruit Towers – things like when everyone decided to do something nice for their colleagues, and what people got up to (and how they coped!) when the Wifi was down. Innocent are happy to communicate the goings on inside their offices for all to see – putting their people’s personality and energy at the heart of their consumer marketing.
For me, this demonstrates that what has traditionally been the ‘employer brand’ managed by the ‘HR team’ is now evolving into being a core part of the company’s overall brand strategy; involving the likes of marketing and operations to create a whole picture view of the company. Certainly a common-sense and natural way of projecting positive levels of people engagement and attracting not only talent into the business, but creating an exciting environment which consumers want to be associated with.
Authenticity and personality are an essential part of this mix. People aren’t robots, and we live in an age which celebrates individuality and where organisations don’t aspire to having ‘cookie-cutter’ teams. Businesses like Japanese restaurant chain Wagamama understand this and have designed their brand to reflect. Walk into one of their restaurants and you’ll see team members who have been empowered by their managers to demonstrate their sense of identity. Or visit their website where the ‘Be You. Be Wagamama’ ethos shines through, actively encouraging people to be themselves.
Creating a cohesive employer and consumer brand such as Innocent or Wagamama doesn’t happen overnight. Nor is it a case of posting photos of smiling employees on social media channels. As Eugenio Pirri of the Dorchester Collection aptly puts it: ‘You can’t tell someone – Be happy. You have to create an environment where they feel they can be happy.”
Creating such an environment necessitates a modern, collaborative approach with active input from team members at all levels of the organisation. Take a holistic and honest view of your company brand. Your ‘employer brand’ should sit naturally within this, reflecting your values as they are today and giving your people both the freedom to be themselves and a sense of pride to be part of your organisation.
Only then can your story – authentically and credibly – shine through.