A leading cement manufacturer
A strong external brand image is vital to success and a differentiated brand, which delivers consistently on its brand promise, can attain premium brand status. But to deliver customer experiences and exceed expectations requires the involvement and commitment of each and every employee in the organisation. Employees are often the most overlooked element in the brand building process. Few companies have the courage to expend their marketing and branding budgets on engaging their employees, preferring to commit millions to advertising and product development. When Trainiac’s client underwent a name change, an intervention to focus on the “acts like” component of the brand was needed.
Faced with a wide geographic spread of operations, a multi-cultural, multi-lingual workforce whose qualifications ranged from a Grade eight to Post Graduate, the challenge was to develop a training programme which could be facilitated boardroom to shop floor. The programme engaged learners in discovering the client’s world and took them on a journey from understanding a value system to allowing them to contribute to defining the behaviours around each of the values. Vital to the definition was aligning the behaviours to the impact on providing exceptional customer service. On a monthly basis, for ten months, employees from all areas of the business engaged in learning. The mix of value chain participants’ increased operational and departmental synergy. Brand accountability was accepted and brand ambassadors were born.
Thirty brand champions were identified at the outset and were from various business units and departments. All had a good knowledge of the company and shared a passion for the brand. Critical to the success of the programme was the buy in of the champions who contributed to the development of the programme from concept stage to implementation. Although the growth and development of the employees was paramount, the champions themselves experienced a steep learning curve which created new opportunities for them within the business. Few had previous facilitation experience, however, the simplicity of programme design and the participation brought about through interactive learning, enabled them to grow in confidence and ability.
Time restrictions necessitated that a modular programme be developed. The modular approach proved to be successful, not only in ensuring attendance but in allowing employees to reflect on learning and how that learning could best be applied in the workplace in a practical way. Green area and continuous improvement meetings provided an opportunity for discussion and reinforcement on an ongoing basis. Total classroom time was 12 hours over a 10-month period.
Recognition took the form of monthly awards to employees nominated as ‘brand heroes’ in their area and these awards were communicated company wide in a monthly newsletter, which also kept the employees abreast of the achievements against measurable targets which were pre-determined.
To ensure the entrenchment of the culture, KPIs were introduced post the intervention, which focused on a behavioural index and this, provided a coaching guide for managers conducting performance reviews. A feedback system for new ideas, which contributed toward continuous improvement, was established to ensure that refinements or changes to existing processes were fully evaluated and implemented, where appropriate.