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Business is about people, not machines. It is about relationships, not transactions.

Strong brands understand that having regular communication—conversations—with all members of their brand communities is critical to successful branding. Your brand community is made up of your executives, employees, partners and alliances, customers, prospects and shareholders.

Branding is about connecting with these people. It is about conversation. The more relevant that conversation and the longer it continues, the stronger your brand will be.

The thing is, that conversation is two-way. In conversations, we talk and we listen.

Effective conversation, then, is not just about sending out a series of messages to members of your brand community in the form of advertising, email, direct mail, etc.; it is about engaging people in two-way discussions so that you can refine brand strategies and provide these constituencies with what they need to become your company's brand stewards.

In this article, we will focus on your employees, a group that is critical to ensuring a clear and consistent message about your brand both inside and outside the walls of your company. In future installments, we will talk about other members of your brand community and ways you can engage them in conversation.

Have Conversations With Your Employees

Your employees are probably the most underutilized brand assets your company has. Employees who deeply understand the brand and proactively apply it to all that they do are critical to brand building.

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image of William Arruda

William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer, the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, and the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.

Twitter: @williamarruda

LinkedIn: William Arruda