Where employee relations, media relations and crises intersect

Consumers are paying attention to how large organizations treat their employees. Here’s how that can help you with overcoming controversy and expanding your online audience.

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No brand is immune to crisis.

Take Wal-Mart for example. A few years ago, its customers were fed up. Many complained that visiting the store was unpleasant: Bathrooms were dirty, checkout lines took forever, and sales associates were scarce.

In 2015, executives decided to start paying workers more. In short order, the store experience improved. Though only about 16 percent of stores had reached the company’s customer service goals before the raises, that number rose to 75 percent and sales were up.

That program— detailed recently in The New York Times —illustrates a truth about the importance of a brand’s image in 2016: Workers are the best brand ambassadors.

The employee undercurrent

Even if they’re not out there tweeting and posting on Facebook, their feelings about your brand are transmitted in subtle ways that customers can sense. Find ways to include your staff in your brand’s overall communication strategy. Doing so can help you survive any crises that come your way.

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