How Employees Build Your Brand: Oakhurst Dairy Case Study

November 25, 2013 | Branding, Business

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Recently I was walking along Forest Avenue in Portland, Maine on my way to the office. I usually take a more pedestrian-friendly route, but had to run an errand so found myself on Forest Ave right near the 295 interchange.

If you are not familiar with Portland, Maine, let me set the scene. Forest Ave. is a very busy, multi-lane road. It has an on/off ramp from 295 that is heavy with traffic because it is a main access way into and out of the city. USM (University of Southern Maine), Hannaford’s grocery store, and an Oakhurst Dairy processing are also all situated in the same area. The sidewalk is wide, but quite frankly it’s not pedestrian friendly and certainly not a scenic walk.

As I was walking towards town, I had to cross the on-ramp for the highway. There is a crosswalk, but drivers don’t always yield. But on this day, the brightly painted Oakhurst Dairy truck did. The driver gave me a wide berth and friendly wave of the hand. The fact that he did this from the cab of his Oakhurst-branded truck made a great brand impression. (Here’s a shot I took).

Oakhurst Dairy truck

First of all, Oakhurst has a great visual identity. In addition to their acorn-based logo, they have a memorable farm scene graphic that they use on their web site, their packaging and also on their trucks. It’s a great example of developing a brand identity beyond just a repeating a logo.

Secondly, the truck driver’s attitude towards me cemented their brand as friendly and caring.

Employee behavior builds (or detracts from) your brand image

Now I don’t know if this is part of an Oakhurst official policy about their truck drivers, but it should be. Their 90-year dairy processing plant is right smack in the middle of a busy intersection and their tractor trailer trucks are often seen having to make wide left turns, negotiate the driveway, etc. This part of a trucker’s routine—which usually takes place at the loading dock out of view in an industrial park—is very visible.

The way your employees interact with prospects and customers, tells a lot about your brand. Even when it’s not in a “direct” customer interaction, anytime your employees are representing the brand—by wearing a uniform, driving a branded truck, etc.—they need to embody the values of your brand.

Congratulations to Oakhurst on doing a great job!

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