CEOs and C-suite executives must realize that the actions taken and the words used by their employees directly impact the customer experience and the company’s financial results.
So, as a CEO or C-suite executive, how can you influence those actions and words? It’s simple.
Your corporate strategy
Should drive consistent actions and outcomes across your organization.
Your corporate story
Should drive a consistent storyline throughout the customer experience.
However, to deliver consistent financial results and a compelling customer experience, your corporate strategy and story must be fully aligned. Why? Because you can’t do one thing and say another. When this happens, trust is broken. Your employee and customer experience breaks down. Brand perception is damaged. And that’s how employees and customers lose faith and belief in your company.
How do you avoid this from happening? You get serious about your strategy and story. More specifically, you get serious about driving alignment around your strategy and story – up and down your organization.
Our team has spent the last 16 years helping executives ensure a consistent strategy and story is brought to life throughout the customer experience. We have been fortunate to work with executives who understand what it takes to compete in the new experience economy. Executives who are committed to ensuring employees can instinctively and consistently activate the company’s strategy and story as they engage with customers and one another.
What does it require from you to make this happen?
Well, today we will share how your strategy and story relate to critical areas of your business and some basic tips for achieving greater alignment across your organization.
Executive Team and Leaders
Your entire executive team must be fully aligned with your go-to-market strategy and story. This requires having a clearly defined corporate purpose, vision, mission and values system in place. The executive team must also crystallize the core value your business delivers, what differentiates your company from the competition and the key messages that will connect with your customers, employees and partners. We recommend that you develop a unified Corporate Strategy and Story Platform that will serve as the foundation for planning and decision-making across the business.
Employees crave clarity. Clarity increases their commitment and conviction in what the company does and what it stands for. You must have programs in place that ensure every employee fully understands and internalizes the corporate story and strategy. This dramatically improves employee engagement, loyalty and productivity. It also ensures they play a positive and active role in bringing a consistent story and strategy to life in the customer experience.
The message you deliver internally must be aligned with the company’s go-to-market story and strategy. The executive team must put disciplined processes in place to ensure internal communication plans and programs align with the company’s purpose, vision, mission and values. Processes also need to be in place to ensure the corporate strategy cascading down from leaders to managers and front-line employees is clear and consistent.
It is imperative the messages you are sending to employees are fully aligned with the messages they are being asked to share with customers. Executives must work with the HR team to ensure the corporate strategy and story being shared with prospective and current employees is fully aligned with external messaging. From recruiting materials to onboarding presentations, employee engagement programs and more.
Executives must ensure the PR team is leveraging a consistent, enterprise-wide corporate story to formulate media strategies, pitches, stories and more. This will help you keep media briefings, interviews and coverage “on message.” The public relations team, internal subject-matter experts and PR firm also need to fully understand and be able to communicate the company’s strategy across a wide range of public relations activities.
Investors demand consistent and predictable results. The same is true when it comes to the company’s story and strategy. The executive team must ensure the corporate story and strategy being shared with investors is fully aligned with the messages being communicated throughout the customer experience. Greater consistency and alignment in the strategy and story increases investor confidence in the executive team’s ability to execute and own a differentiated position in the market.
Marketing is responsible for delivering a consistent story and promise across critical communication channels utilized throughout the customer experience. The executive team needs to ensure marketing fully understands how the strategy and story connect to daily work activities. With a documented corporate strategy and story in place, marketing teams can ensure continuity and connectivity exists from one customer touchpoint to another.
Executives must ensure the sales team’s voice is aligned with the corporate strategy and story. This will ensure a consistent value-based message is delivered in selling conversations and that the message aligns with the story buyers consume throughout their end-to-end journey. Disciplined processes must be put in place to ensure sales fully buys into the corporate story and can articulate the strategy in a clear, compelling way.
Sales / Marketing Partners
Your partners play a vital role in the customer experience, and today companies have larger partner ecosystems than ever before. That’s why it is imperative that your partner ecosystem is operating from a shared corporate strategy and story. This will create greater connectivity and continuity in the messages partners deliver across various channels, communication vehicles and touchpoints throughout the customer experience.
As a CEO and C-suite executive you might be saying, I have lieutenants who are responsible for these areas of the business. That is true. However, if they don’t have access to a shared corporate strategy and story – how can they operate from the same sheet of music? If they have not been educated on how the strategy and story relates to their area of the business, how can you expect their teams to execute effectively on a daily basis?
It’s no wonder only 14 percent of employees understand what the organization’s strategy is and 90 percent of front-line employees don’t know what their company stands for. They have not been given a consistent roadmap to operate from nor have they been told how to navigate it.
Do you want to outperform the competition?
Do you want to deliver better bottom-line results?
Then you better get serious about aligning and activating your corporate story and strategy across your organization. And remember, as a C-suite executive, while you may not own the end-to-end execution of your strategy and story … you sure as hell own the activation plan behind it.