Companies don’t focus enough on invisible marketing. Sure, they do internet ads, radio spots, and TV commercials, but too often they neglect the most important marketing there is. Invisible Marketing. Invisible marketing is three things:
The culture within a company speaks to the way its employees interact with one another and the environment in which they work. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the culture du jour featured hip twenty-somethings working in an open space with ping-pong tables and latte machines strewn about the office. They worked together and they played together, generally drinking microbeers and playing Pictionary in a trendy bar. Interpersonally, a heavy emphasis was put on shared experiences and teamwork. In the 80s, the mighty Corporation reigned supreme. At work it was suits, pantsuits, Gordon Gecko, and a giant cell phone. After hours, low-lit bars were full of over-dressed thirty-thousand dollar millionaires and chicks with giant hair. It was a sink-or-swim world in which professional Darwinism was celebrated. In both of these cases, the people bought in to the prevailing philosophy, thus defining their cultures. Today, companies are all over the place. Both extremes are ubiquitous. And both work. The culture of your workplace and relationship between your employees are important invisible marketing tools so make sure yours in intentional, whatever it is. Otherwise, it’s just a job to your people. No emotional connection to the job. It’s just a paycheck.
Behavior is all about decency and is most obvious in sales and customer service. Of course your sales folks have to put on a face and be kind and affable to prospects. Of course your customer service reps aren’t allowed to be abusive of a client asking for help. If you’ve done things right, these guys have the appropriate natural personality to be service oriented. The invisible marketing comes in with everyone else in the company. Every interaction with someone not in the company is a marketing moment. Opening doors for people, tipping waiters well, yes sir, yes ma’am, thank you, please, and I’m sorry gives the rest of the world the impression that the people of your company are good people. And we like to do business with good people.
I know. It’s shallow. Beauty is skin deep and you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Whatever. It’s true. I do it. You do it. We may chastise ourselves after the fact and we may get surprised more often than not when our early judgments are wrong, but the early judgement was there. You can bypass all of that stress and unnecessary misdirection by hiring people that look like what you want them to look like. I don’t want my dentist to have a face tattoo. Likewise, I like my barista to look edgy, my chef to be fat, and my mechanic to have dirty fingernails. That doesn’t mean there is no place in a traditional organization for the outliers of social norms. In fact, there is almost an expectation for some. Nobody has a problem with an IT dude in a Captain America t-shirt or a security detail of rocked up dudes in SWAT gear. Dressing and adorning to expectation is invisible marketing. Side note – stop it with those gaps in your ear. There is not a human being with hope that likes that nonsense.