Your brand… It’s the complete package of what customers and prospects think of when they hear your company name. Your brand also differentiates you from your competition. A lot of attention is paid to branding a business in order to stand out and remain memorable with customers. However, many overlook the fact that your branding is also an important aspect for your own staff. Let’s explore the impact of branding on your team.

Our marketing agency works with, among others, companies that win work if they’re the lowest bidder. Common with government work, the theory is that the company that sells the widget or can install the waterline for the lowest cost should win the job. So why would branding matter to a company focused on the lowest bid?

Branding matters to future employees. Today’s high school and college graduates have only known life with the Internet and mobile phones. When needing to research a business, their first inclination is to search on a mobile device for the company’s website. As they look for jobs, their first impression is what pulls up about the potential employer. Consider the impression about Company A with a website last updated 10 years ago and with negative reviews on Google My Business and Glassdoor versus Company B with a well-maintained, updated website and positive feedback on Google and Glassdoor. Which attracts the best job candidates?

With many industries challenged with the labor shortage, businesses need to manage their online reputation in order to draw in the best qualified job applicants. This is true whether you’re a civil construction contractor, a restaurant or a realtor. You only have one chance to make the right impression. Branding matters in recruiting.

Your brand also impacts your current employees. Staff members want to feel good about where they work. From the logo on promotional products and company shirts to talk around the proverbial water cooler, you need a strong, positive brand to help retain employees (& by extension, clients). When employees introduce themselves at networking events and personal gatherings, they want to feel that the company they work for positively adds to their overall personal image.

I worked in global marketing for several years for Arthur Andersen and back then, I felt confident about the reputation that the global consulting firm had. People seemed to give me a second glance when they heard where I worked. I reaped the benefits of a strong, positive brand built over decades. My employer was more beneficial to me than just a pay check. That is, the brand was motivating and pride-inducing until … it wasn’t. The Andersen-Enron debacle of the early 2000s definitely tarnished Andersen’s brand. The new “fire ball” logo distributed on sturdy backpacks and CD-ROMS (remember those?) could not make up for Andersen’s severely bruised brand that was covered daily in the media and infiltrated the web faster than a bolt of lightning. Many employees fled to find careers that they could believe in again. I believe that a few Andersen leaders, caught up in the pursuit of exuberance, had strayed from the values that Andersen was built on: hard work, objectivity, pursuit of excellence and investment in people. They had strayed from the brand.

Could the best graphics and branding have turned around Andersen’s eventual downfall? I don’t think so. However, better communication among employees, new recruits and clients could have emphasized the values that most Andersen employees truly valued. Used proactively, perhaps that communication about the brand could have reminded some of the call for objectivity. Marketing and branding emphasize what your business stands for. So you see, your brand — the visual elements representing your company and the feeling you give employees and job applicants — matter, regardless of your industry or size. The right marketing agency can help audit your brand and share recommendations to ensure your company looks its best. Your future team depends on it.