Internal Branding. A better brand begins from within
Companies spend most of their marketing budget for the purpose of acquiring customers and making sure they look good in the public eye, but many forget that looking good to their employees is just as important. Not taking care of the very people that perform the actual work will lead to poor work. So while external branding is essential for company success, internal branding should never be ignored.
What is an internal branding campaign?
In the simplest terms, internal branding is a strategy used to make sure everyone in the company is on board, understands the brand’s direction and its core values, is respected, and is motivated and engaged on a daily basis.
Internal branding campaigns can involve anything from a company-wide recognition platform, to bonding retreats, to presentation decks, to town hall meetings, to one-on-one meetings, all the way down to engaging signage. And just like with an external campaign, you are communicating a message to a targeted group of people.
Stats don’t lie. Watson Wyatt Worldwide found that companies with high employee trust, who understand and believe in the brand, perform better than companies with lower levels by 186%. If a job means more to an employee, they are more likely to want to stay at that job for a longer amount of time. But how do you make sure everyone truly believes in the brand and their position in the company?
In order for an employee to value his or her job, they must first completely understand what the company is doing inside and out, and why. This is why internal branding is so beneficial. It puts everything out on the table for everyone to see … and question. This means an internal branding campaign involves explaining the strategic positioning the brand takes, what the brand values mean, who does what and why, and if you really want everyone to be on board … who makes what and why.
When employees embrace the company, it trickles down to how they treat customers. Not only in general, but if employees believe in the company and its values, they’ll export the values into their interactions with customers. It makes the interactions real for all parties involved.
A big undertaking
Developing an internal branding campaign won’t happen overnight. It takes lots of planning, and lots of research. For example, conducting surveys and interviews, and having focus groups meet before you put together a campaign will allow you to obtain useful data needed to tailor a campaign that will resonate best with employees. You must first settle any strife before you can bring people together!
Creating pride also won’t happen overnight, but should be a major focus of the campaign. Consider giving employees a sense of ownership into the brand. This could be stock if it's a private company, them taking personal responsibility for company success and failure, them being an active part of the make-up of the brand itself, or them having an active role in the promotion of the brand. The more they have to do with the brand, the more they will feel a part of it.
Morale is also a very important thing to focus on with a campaign. Employee incentives, intraoffice activities, development training, and compensation programs can all increase morale. It can also be affected by the building itself, the furniture, bathrooms, interior design, lighting, floor plans, lounges, seating, and dress code! These are all things to research beforehand. Finding the sore spots that employees are having issues with is so beneficial. You will also want to make sure you yourself understand everything there is to know about the company, as one goal of an internal branding campaign is to teach.
It’s also very important that a brand’s external message and its internal message match. If you want your staff to focus on profit, for example, but tell your customers you’re all about great customer service will result in a disconnect. Whatever brand values you live by, and promote externally, needs to be what you promote internally.
A company that ignores its internal branding, or doesn’t care about it, will see high turnover, or will just employ people who don’t care at all about the brand. This will result in negative interactions with customers, negative interactions with one another, and negative interactions with superiors.
Dedicating time to make sure everyone in the company is on board is priceless, and it’s through carefully constructed internal campaigns that a brand can achieve positive results company-wide.
The ultimate goal with internal branding is to give staff the tools they need to … live the brand.