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Ah, September. The psychological end of summer and the time when many students, both young and old, head back to school. In addition to typical education programs, let’s also add a brand education program to the mix.

Right now, we’re helping a seven-year-old brand re-articulate its brand and tweak its strategy. Recently the CEO asked me if we would also put together a training program for new employees. Absolutely!

Bar none, the most important and glaring lessons I’ve learned while managing brands is the power of understanding. Once the brand strategy is explained, brand standard infractions decrease, cynicism turns to support, pride, and adulation, and employee engagement soars.

A strong brand education program is best to deliver at two levels:

The strategy basics. What does a brand strategy really mean? What does it really do? What is your brand strategy? How does it work, how will it grow your business?

An understood brand strategy is far more likely to be a successful brand strategy! The brand education program can help. 

Deep dive. Beyond that, you can dive deeper for some or all of your employees. Give them role-specific ways to bring it to life. Product designers need to understand the brand strategy in a different way than the sales team does. Help them see how their specific roles impact the brand strategy and its effectiveness.

The mindset of lifelong learning grows every day. People now expect to learn new concepts and skills in lots of places and lots of ways. For example, brand education programs can take some of these forms:

  • Self-paced, online content

  • In-person workshops

  • New hire orientation

  • Train-the-trainer sessions

  • Brand ambassador programs

  • Online games

The point is the brand strategy should extend across your entire organization. You cannot expect everyone just to get it. You have to educate them. But please don’t look at it as a burden, but rather an opportunity. Brand education programs provide you with opportunities to engage your workforce, increase the brand’s importance, receive valuable feedback from frontline colleagues, and enlist more people in your army of brand advocates.

Although our dog, Abner, would beg to differ, you can teach dogs of any age lots of new tricks. Start with brand!

Are you looking to bring your company back to Brand School? Let’s start a conversation on how you can do this!

— Douglas Spencer

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