Rant & Rave founder Nigel Shanahan explains why he’s placing such an emphasis on brand values in 2017, touching on communication and trust.

Another year over and another opportunity to look back on great successes, new business wins and a chance to reflect on the innovative and hardworking team that we have built around us. Some may feel the January blues but we see the start of the year as a prime time to think about what is it that we can do to make 2017 the best year yet.

We recently grouped together to discuss what it means to work at Rant & Rave. Our collaborative thinking led us to create the following brand values.

“Customer success isn’t just our objective, it’s our obsession. We’re passionate about what we do and are proud to be a disruptive force in the market. Challenging the status quo, setting the agenda and ripping up the rule book. We believe in being open, honest and transparent with everyone. Breaking down walls and working together as one team, on one mission: to create ravers.”

And this is what we will all be working together to strive to achieve. 2017, for us, is the year to live and breathe our brand values. If you were wondering how we plan to do this, there are in fact many ways of creating and maintaining brand advocacy internally.

Creating consistent brand advocacy internally

We know that from working with an array of brands, customers are actually a lot smarter than what many brands give them credit for. Companies which decree values and a brand promise in the boardroom – which are used to drive marketing campaigns – sometimes forget to instil these into the very organisation they originate from.

If you’re promising to deliver exceptional service to your customers, then I feel it is essential that you commit to delivering this to your own team. By doing this, you can look to embed value into your own organisation’s culture – at the forefront of every decision. It boils down to the fact that if you can’t convince your own employees to believe in your cause, how can you expect your customers to even think about it? For companies to achieve ultimate “brand love”, leaders first need to win the hearts of their employees.

Achieving internal brand values advocacy

Apathy can be a huge barrier to any attempts at getting your employees to drive your brand promise forward – when it sets in it can spread quickly. Thankfully there are some quick wins to combat it.

Trust and empower your employees

By giving your staff leeway to use their own judgement to overcome customer issues or complaints, without the need to seek approval, you’re not only serving customers better but you enforce the point that your employees opinions matter, and they believe that they are capable of making a difference.

Lack of visibility

A lack of visibility between employees and managers can become a real blocker when it comes to engagement internally. Transparency is key: over-communicate if you need to – even if it is to reinforce your message. Remember to not only broadcast messages, but to take the time to listen and respond to colleague feedback.

Fear of change

This is particularly problematic for organisations that are looking to drive significant cultural change across the company, or to instil a new set of brand values. Sometimes it can be difficult to explain why change needs to happen. Consider using the voice of your customers to demonstrate the importance of your initiative.

Ensuring brand promise matches reality

It may have become cliché to suggest that your employees are your most important customers – but we know that happier staff can be effective in boosting your organisation’s ROI. Your employees are the frontline of your business so should embody your brand values at all time.

When our customers buy into what we’re trying to achieve, they should also truly believe that we as a company, truly emit the values we showcase.

This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.