In the previous article User Experience Design in a Social Enterprise Environment: Connecting The Dots I covered how to look more holistically at the building blocks of a Social Enterprise to make it a single coherent experience.
In this article I will be looking at how to create consistency that extends beyond the corporate firewall and into the public web.
An equal brand experience for all
A difficult aspects of all social media initiatives is keeping a consistent brand experience in customer-facing environments. One of the more visible proofs of failure are employees posting something unfortunate via their personal social profiles or even via a corporate account.
But there are more deep-rooted issues as well:
- How can the visual identity be delivered through a Facebook page that only allows a minimum of graphic changes?
- How can a customer be sure the corporate Flickr account indeed IS the official account?
- How can customer expect the same consistent experience every time they get in contact with the company?
Brand education and corporate values are there to provide support to the marketing, PR and other customer-facing professionals so they can communicate the right message and shape the right brand perception, but it is no longer enough.
Today we all work in PR
Historically this type of brand training/ support was only relevant to people expected to interact with customers, but the world has changed and today every employee represents the company, not just the ones with job titles that say they do and not only during work hours.
It is the future of how we work. The lines of when we are at work and when we are not are increasingly being blurred and representing the company we work for everywhere we go is becoming part of our lives.
Some companies require employees to state on their personal social profiles that they represent personal opinions and do not represent the company, but this legacy clause do not face the reality: Everything an employee writes reflects on the company, disclaimer or not.
But without a sufficient understanding of the brand and the corporate values, how can employees be expected to convey the brand message accurately and consistently?
A brief introduction to the corporate values during the induction is no longer enough.
The Social Enterprise as the brand tutor
The Social Enterprise, being an ambient entity, can facilitate brand education like no other organisational structure can on an on-going basis. But in order to do so it is important to create a consistent user experience that conveys a unified company:
- Don’t settle for the default interface designs of the different systems. Modify it to create a coherent user experience across all systems.
- Apply the corporate visual design uniformly as much as possible across all systems.
- Ensure the design looks profesisonal and that it is consistent with the customer facing web presence of the company.
- Reinforce the corporate values, not just by slogans, but by getting senior management engaged with the employees. A simple “like” on a post from a VP or the CEO is a powerful steer.
Ongoing brand awareness education across all levels of the organisation is key to a great customer experience because all employees are familiar and comfortable with the corporate identity and can convey the brand in an accurate and confident fashion.
But what do you think?
Please share your thoughts and feel free to suggest a subject for the next article on how to make a desirable and productive user experience across the social enterprise.