Telling the story of your ownership

Great marketing should always tell a compelling story that strives to evoke an emotional connection with your customers in order to encourage buy in to a brand, its vision and its values.

For you, employee ownership is an intrinsic part of that story. Not simply because it is a dynamic business model that stimulates growth, or because a transition provides an economically viable succession plan – these things matter very little to the average customer, it’s much more about what that status says and how it makes them feel.

With clever, strategic positioning, your EO status can immediately tell your clients who you are as a business and the values that set you apart from your competitors. It says that you are a business who cares about people – you effectively engage with staff, you reward those who help to make your business a success, you encourage and support individual development.

We know from experience that, in an increasingly disillusioned marketplace, showcasing your pride and belief in your business ethos and people can be a powerful tool in inspiring and retaining brand loyalty.

Whilst some employee owned businesses are already promoting this people-centric message to a certain extent, far fewer are taking it to the next level by directly demonstrating how your values offer tangible benefits for customers – and that is where the real value is added.

Making sure you share with customers how your commitment to employee ownership affects the way you support them is what helps to build long-term relationships that bring real commercial results – whether that’s making sales, making the phone ring or simply making sure that contract is there to stay.

Your colleagues are your strongest brand advocates and the best reflection of company culture. They are focused on business performance and continually maintaining a positive brand reputation. They think 10 years, rather than 10 minutes, ahead and are resolutely committed to driving the business forward. They are part of a team, and a community, wholly dedicated to looking after those who matter most – the customer. That’s a great story. One that they need to hear.

By making employee ownership a prominent and regular feature in all of your marketing, and critically linking it to the benefits this brings to your customers, this sends a clear message that EO is not only good for business, but for everybody connected to that business too.

Emma Pearson Kendall is Managing Director of Fred Marketing, a Supporter member of the EOA.

Fred Marketing has worked closely with the EOA over recent years developing EO Day into a major UK celebration of the EO sector. This will be Fred’s third year supporting EO Day and they have also just successfully won a competitive tender to deliver wider national PR support for the EOA. The Fred studio has also developed the EOA brand, producing a suite of traditional and digital materials to unify EOA communications, including recent infographics and branding for the UK EO Awards.