There’s a simple way to look at product, experience and branding, according to Richard Shotton:
Product is Experience
Experience is Reputation
Reputation is Brand
In essence, a good product experience builds your reputation which in turn becomes the foundation of your brand.
The same can be said of your time at work. Employee experience builds your reputation which is the foundation of your employer brand. What’s more, if we change the ‘product’ – i.e. the environment, the training, the technology, ways to collaborate and so on – so we can change the experience and build an even stronger brand.
But experience needs to be built on a foundation. If you don’t feel comfortable in the environment or challenged in your work, supported or appreciated, included or inspired, then even the coolest environment or the smartest technology won’t make any difference to the feeling that you don’t belong.
Belonging is not a ping pong table or an employee app.
It is the connection we feel – because of the company we are working for and the purpose and values they promote.
It is the consideration people have for us – from our managers or from the organisation.
It is the level of comfort we feel – because of how our colleagues behave towards each other.
And it is the ability to challenge – to voice our opinions, speak up or simply to put forward ideas without fear of humiliation.