TrustedBrandI’m not E.F. Hutton, so people don’t always listen to me when I speak. Remember their commercials, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Then again, my company isn’t extinct either. You see, my goal as part of a consulting services firm is to do such a great job for you, and more importantly YOUR internal customers, that they are so delighted with the project, they want to listen to you. Additionally, I want your internal customers to need you to do more projects than your team can handle alone. In other words, I want to be so successful working for you that I create more work than you can handle – making hiring me for the next engagement a necessity rather than a luxury. My brand is that of Trusted Partner who can deliver more of “it” (whatever “it” may be) faster and in less time than my clients can accomplish without me.

I am frequently reminded that while organizations (and some individuals) are putting a lot of effort into defining and refining their brands, many departments and/or workgroups within those same organizations are not. That could prove to be a big mistake.

Let’s step back for a moment and consider your “internal customers” and the services you provide them. If given the choice and options, would your internal customers continue to use your services? Or would they buy elsewhere? Consider a related question: All other things being equal, how is your team’s “brand” viewed in the eyes of your internal customers?

As organizations continue to master the skills needed to swim in the ocean of the “new” normal (very slow growth at the top line), we will continue to see emphasis placed on reducing operating costs as a means of improving margins. That quest inevitably leads to an analysis of alternatives to accomplish more, faster, and with less. By the way, shouldn’t it always be that way?

Here’s the bottom line: If you’re on the payroll, you better find ways of doing more than just enough to get by. You better find ways to provide value. And if your internal customers don’t understand your value AND enjoy doing business with your team, you are in danger of being replaced.

Here’s the good news: You can easily go from where you are now to where you need to be, assuming your actual performance is already good. The better news…you probably just need to tell your team’s story better and reinforce those messages more strategically. For instance, when was the last time you purposefully marketed your team and services to your internal customers? Have you run any promotional or “service awareness” campaigns lately? Are you publishing your team’s scorecard or performance metrics while articulating the specific value your services have to offer? Are your internal customers reading your team blogs? Following your department on Twitter? You get the point.

Rest assured, your department or workgroup has a brand (good, bad, or indifferent) whether you purposefully created it or not. And, still assuming you’re doing good work, if you find yourself in the dubious position of continually justifying your existence or value, perhaps it’s time to think about the ways your team can build customer awareness based on the perceived value of your services and increase loyalty based on their relationship with your team.

To get started, I suggest you examine your answers to the following questions: 

1.) How would my internal customers describe my department’s value (in 10 words or less)?

2.) What do my internal customers love about doing business with my team?

3.) What do my internal customers hate about doing business with my team?

4.) If my team had unlimited staffing, what could I offer my internal customers that would provide our business, organization, and company more value?

Today’s new normal is doing more with less and doing it faster than humanly possible. You must remain laser focused on the value you and your team are providing to your internal customers and emphasize your team’s brand at every opportunity. If you don’t find ways to provide even more value and “do more, faster, and with less,” you run the risk of you, your team, and your team’s brand going the way of E.F. Hutton.

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