17 Jan What starts within, spreads throughout: The importance of internal branding
Your internal brand is an important piece in building a strong external brand.
If a strong brand is built from the inside, your internal brand is vital to the success of external marketing efforts.
5 steps to building a strong internal brand
Employees must embrace and understand everything about their company and the brand that the company wishes to exude, from its core values, it’s overall business purpose and to how the company wishes to position itself in the market.
Define your mission and values
Having a mission and overall business values gives your employees a sense of purpose to their role beyond just working for an income. Without identifying these vital components your employees will struggle to identify its purpose and how to communicate this to your potential customers.
Engage your people
Your internal brand is about your people, defined by your people and driven by your people. They are the most important part of your internal brand and determine how your brand will be perceived by the outside world. It is vital that your employees positively engage and become part of your overall business culture.
Develop an internal identity
When developing your internal identity, it is essential to ensure that it relates to your external identity.
If your business is saying one thing to its employees and an entirely different thing to its customers it will cause confusion and a discrepancy with your company’s purpose and direction. A memorable identity will help your internal brand stick and translate that ‘meaning’ into the everyday roles of your employees.
Communicate your internal brand strategy
Creating an emotional connection between employees and the brand is not something that can be achieved via an internal memo and the odd poster on the staff noticeboard. To ensure that connection informs the way your employees approach their roles and that your brand continues to underpin each decision they execute, you need to initiate a proper launch for the brand.
Use a multi-pronged approach to introduce and explain the messages and then reinforce by applying your internal branding to every internal touchpoint.
Consider the day-to-day interactions experienced by your staff and weave your internal brand into these experiences. For example, including the internal brand statement or mission and values on employee email signatures and having your values displayed around the office.
Remember that communicating your internal brand is about inspiring, motivating and persuading your employees, not simply informing; so be creative and encourage two-way conversations by providing platforms for feedback and discussion.
Recognise, reward and incentivize
To truly drive a successful internal branding strategy and transform the engagement of employees, it needs continual reinforcement from higher management. The best way to do this is to provide incentives or competitions for employees to display and drive your internal values into your business culture. Recognise and reward employees who continue to demonstrate living by the businesses internal values as a way of reinforcing the value of your internal brand.
When looking at rewarding employees it should come from all levels – from the top right down to peer to peer acknowledgement. Create a culture of encouragement and get your employees involved e.g. have quarterly awards where employees nominate their peers for who they think best displays and identifies with the company values and culture.
When companies ignore or minimize internal branding, behaviour and communication the external brand message is compromised.
If the employees lack confidence in the company or their products or services, it becomes a difficult task to convince people to buy from you. A strong internal brand removes this cynicism and buyers are confident by your confidence.
Want to develop your internal brand?