A High-Achieving Strategy for Your Internal Brand

We’re just a few weeks in, and already I have what may be one of my fondest memories of 2019. My daughter, Penelope, and the Beta Club at Mauldin Elementary School became Songfest Champions at the South Carolina Junior Beta Club Convention.

Yes, the eyes were watery. It was such a proud moment as a parent. It was also powerful to see the thrill in the faces of nearly 50 fifth-grade students when they heard the name of the second-place team called; much like the reaction of when Miss America is crowned, albeit with maybe a tad more “flossing” and “dabbing” after the initial jump for joy.

By the end of the three days in Myrtle Beach, I knew what separated our team from the rest of the pack. The story of how they won is full of helpful insights into what makes not only a winning program, but a high-achieving strategy for marketing and branding.

I think we can learn several key lessons from their journey.

They Made Practice a Priority

It may go without saying, but this team practiced hard, and they practiced often. Even right up to each performance at the convention, whether it was outside, in the concourse of the convention hall or whispering their song and motions behind the bleachers of the auditorium. They kept honing their skills and practiced adjustments should some of the singers have to bow out for other competitions taking place at the same time as the performances.

Why is it we only think of practice when it comes to things like performing arts and sports? And if we’re honest with ourselves, too often we’re reluctant to do it. However, credit unions and community banks that maximize the impact of training often see the greatest growth.

Separation is in the preparation. Practice enables consistency with how we work as a team to how we serve the consumer.

There are opportunities all around us. Are you prepared to take advantage of them?

They Motivated Themselves for the Opportunity

How do you celebrate once you achieve your goals? Rewards add gravity to goal setting. Too often we get hung up on inching closer to our loan, membership and checking goals and we don’t take the time to celebrate our wins.

What’s the payoff for your frontline staff? What about the rest of your organization?

With the win, not only did these kids receive praises of their teachers and parents – which within the workplace is often overlooked or missed – they’ve earned a ticket to perform at the National Convention in June to be held in Oklahoma City. The day they returned to school, they walked the hallways in a parade celebrating their achievements.

What’s your reward for a job well done?

They Understood the Importance of Differentiation

On the surface, each Songfest team took to the stage and performed a song, along with synchronized hand motions and gestures. However, Mauldin Elementary had a stage presence that drew the audience in and commanded their full attention.

Their entrance on and exit off stage were purposeful. Their motions were clean and smooth. Their voices were clear. Their dress – from no belts to no earrings to yellow ribbons tied around half ponytails for the girls – was on point. Smiles were just as plentiful as a Chick-fil-A employee exclaiming, “my pleasure.”

Every financial institution believes they are “people helping people,” but it’s how that makes all the difference.

What makes your brand different in how you serve, engage and inspire consumers?

They Realized Enthusiasm is Contagious

I learned a new chant on this trip: “You’ve got to want it to win it, and we want it bad!”

It was their teachers that taught the kids this chant. They didn’t do it in front of the competition, but it was a rallying call that got them excited. Even the teachers would take their shot at doing the “shoot” to the chant – you know, where you jump on one leg while pumping your arm. Yeah, they were doing that with gusto! The enthusiasm of the teachers spread to each student.

This is critical to most internal brands. What makes your credit union or community bank a “best place to work” is when each employee lives your brand each and every day. From the board to the leadership team, to managers to the frontlines, without enthusiasm, your brand will suffer.

So, go on. Give it a try, and spread the word:

“You’ve got to want it to win it, and we want it bad!”

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