Represent the Brand – On or Off Duty

March 30, 2015

Recently, I flew out of Philadelphia, taking an airline not always known for great service. A man stood with the gate agent. Our flight was delayed because our crew was on another flight late coming into Philadelphia and this – it seemed – was a massive inconvenience to him. 100 people waiting at the gate heard him ranting about how poorly the airline manages flight crew hours and how aggravating it was that we were an hour behind schedule.

On board, it got no better.

He lounged in his seat, almost lying down, elbowing the woman sitting next to him. And despite gentle reminders from the flight attendants, he kept his cell phone on and updated Facebook until the jet’s engines roared for take-off, then frequently got out of his seat when the seatbelt sign was still illuminated.

He would have been a rude passenger, in any circumstance. But he was a uniformed, off-duty member of the airline’s flight crew.

Perhaps he felt that his off-duty status meant that he no longer represented the airline. But with his obviously branded uniform and insider-status with the crew, he unfortunately became the belligerent face of the brand.

Employees carry the brand with them when they walk out the door. Some mention workday issues on Facebook. Others are easily recognized members of their community. While it is impossible to manage people outside of the office, it is critical to build a company culture that reinforces brand-aligned behaviors.

Some employees will opt out – and maybe it is better for everyone if they do – but others will choose to participate in making a workplace they can all be proud of and to provide service that lives up to the brand promise. It's those employees for whom every organization must make expectations clear and make success mutually rewarding.

For more on developing a culture of success, check out our blog here.

Originally published on LinkedIn.

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