Internal miscommunication can make even the most irresistible marketing promotions fall flat in the final mile. All too often, our brand agency works together with corporate marketing partners to launch promotions they’ve poured their hearts into… only to yield lackluster results when frontline workers don’t have the right story—or motivation—to sell in corporate’s hard work.
The good news? This heartbreak is entirely preventable – if you prioritize internal campaigns like you do external campaigns.
How Your Promotion Gets Lost in The Corporate Game of Telephone
The corporate game of telephone goes like this: the marketing team at Company X briefs Advertising Agency on their target market and promotional product. Advertising Agency creates campaigns, ads, and consumer communications. “Brilliant!” says CMO of Company X. “Our customers will love this.”
The marketing team at Company X relays those materials to cross-functional teams: IT, Supply Chain, Finance, Product Development…. and then volleys the responsibility of educating frontline workers to training and operations.
On paper, it makes sense. Training is “on the ground floor” with the frontline team. But without the proper tools to succeed, this method can breed resentment, misunderstanding, and a lack of ownership over the promotion. You’ll know this has happened when you hear the frontline say phrases like “I don’t know… it was someone at corporate’s idea.”
Then, the training and operations departments take the fall when there is a big disconnect between the excitement of the company about this new offering and the sentiment of the frontline worker who communicates it to the customer.
Cue finger pointing, blame, and frustration for all.
Hug It Out, Marketing and Training, This is Your Kumbaya Moment.
“This job would be easy if it weren’t for the people.” – someone, somewhere
No matter how awesome your product, consumer campaign, or training materials, it’s the people selling your product that have the most direct influence over sales. The frontline team need to know why the product is important, be confident in their ability to explain it to others, and understand how selling the product benefits them.
What if Company X prioritized the internal campaign as much as the consumer-facing campaign? What if, as part of the launch, Advertising Agency included an internal messaging campaign as part of the deliverables? What if, instead of specs and talking points, the frontline team received a story about how this product will help people and how helping people can benefit them?
See, you actually have two customers to win over with your promotion: your external consumer (customer) and your internal consumer (frontline team). When you haven’t won over your internal consumer, you get things like “Because corporate said so.” When you do win over your internal consumer, they’ll gush to your external consumer (customer), raving about your product and sharing your brand story with excitement.
How to Win Over Your Internal Consumer (Frontline Team)
It’s simple, really: you tell your story. Storytelling is a proven method for selling big ideas. They’re compelling to tell and stickier to hear. No one remembers a commodity-driven campaign – i.e. “Buy this product for the low, low price of…” But they’ll remember the story: Clif Bars are named for the creator’s father. Steve Jobs lived in a garage. Etc.
Your internal audience – your frontline team— is as important to win over as the consumer, and storytelling is a proven method for creating sentiment. Companies like Domino’s, Apple and REI, have this figured out. They tell stories that make the employee a strong brand leader, and then sell that belief, pride and, yes, product to consumers.
We call it “Magnetic Storytelling.” Because it brings people together around a common idea.
There’s something supercool about magnets and the way they attract. It’s invisible, right? You don’t see the magnetic field, but you can see its effect on what it attracts. Our brand agency might not have a head for science, but we know people. Especially consumers and employees, both of whom are attracted to brands that have great stories to tell.
So, Company X, next time you are thinking about how to land your promotions with explosive success, start by winning the hearts and minds of your people.
Ready to discover your brand’s magnetic powers? Let’s talk.