Score one for the employees lowest on the totem pole.
This post examines how a fairly significant oversight by a Subway Restaurant cashier illustrates their critical importance to even the biggest of brands.
Recently I stopped in at a Subway in Brampton, Ontario. I was enjoying the sandwich made by a "Sandwich Artist" (more about that term in this post, if you're interested) when a woman walked in and had her day deflated by the cashier.
First, let's back up.
Subway is running an ad campaign where the characters refer to the days of the week as sandwiches, to reflect the Subway sandwich that happens to be on special that day. For example, Wednesday is no longer Wednesday, it's "Steak and Cheese" day. Get it? Marginally clever.
So, back to my restaurant. The woman walks in and is greeted nicely by the cashier. The woman, to my absolute amazement, says back "Happy Steak and Cheese day". I nearly fall out of my chair! I am impressed that 1) the ad campaign had such an impact on this woman, and 2) that she was courageous enough to be so playful with the complete stranger behind the counter.
Customers are walking into stores reciting lines from the ad campaign!! Marketing Utopia... right?
Well, it all came crashing down when the cashier responded "Huh?"
She had no idea what this woman was saying to her. The poor customer was completely deflated, and proceded to simply place an order.
Marketing executives and creative directors work so hard to develop campaigns that resonate with the audience. When they achieve this improbable greatness, all their effort is quickly undone if the EMPLOYEES don't even know the campaign exists! Furthermore, those customers... fans rather... have their brand experience diminished when the people that represent the brand don't participate in their enthusiasm.
While I am pointing out that the cashier was responsible for that diminished brand experience, I am also pointing out how important they are to that brand. The front-line employee (often the most poorly paid) is the most important person in the customer's brand experience!
TAKEAWAY FOR YOU, THE MARKETING PERSON:
The marketing executive's job, in addition to creating memorable campaigns, is to adequately inform every employee about their individual role in supporting the campaign and the brand by representing the brand with their actions. Never underestimate the importance of the lowly cashier in your marketing efforts.
Do you have any other examples of marketing efforts being undermined by front-line employees that haven't embraced the campaign? Here's one: blog
This blog is written by Glenn Cressman, Share Of Marketing's founder and Chief Share Builder (bio). It covers all things marketing. Feel free to comment!