For those of us who perform the daily ritual of branding, communications and marketing strategy on behalf of our clientele often forget that one of the most important – if not the most important – elements of our holistic strategy, and one that more often than not takes a backseat to our external client efforts, is right in front of us. It’s called Internal Branding and it’s all about us. Yes, us. The internal team, the crew, the gang, the agency, the company, us. And like external branding, It requires established and adhered-to measures to effectively gauge its progress and ultimate success. But once you hit that sweet spot of success with a solid internal brand-centric culture, carefully created as part of your overall organizational strategy, your stature amongst your employees and your clients will soar.
Here’s our take:
IT’S ALL INCLUSIVE.
Internal branding is a not a one-man/woman show; it’s not a senior management edict from the executive suite that trickles down; it’s not an HR mandate that’s glanced over in a policy handbook; and it’s certainly not logo-ed coffee mugs sitting on a desk. It’s an organization-wide, all inclusive, everyone on board methodology with rewards that are immediately measurable by motivation and morale, as well as retention and recruitment. Most importantly, its foundation is the people on your payroll who are more than mere employees, those that solve the problems and deliver the goods day after day and who can impart insightful and thoughtful information to benefit everyone involved from top to bottom. Tap into them as they are your biggest brand assets as well as your brand ambassadors. Include them and acknowledge their importance through career development training, mentorship programs and an empowering leadership style. And make it meaningful because at the end of the day, an all-encompassing and engaging internal branding strategy will ensure everyone feels included.
IT’S INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL.
“Where do you work? “What’s the company like?” “Do you like working there?” These are the openings to practically every conversation we have in daily life, whether chatting in line at the supermarket, at a dinner party, or sitting next to a friendly stranger on a plane. And 99.9% of the time it’s going to be topic number one in those conversations, so if a strong, employee-friendly internal branding strategy is not in place, you’ll probably not like the answers given to these questions. And believe this; everyone on the receiving end of those conversations will take notice. This is one of the many reasons why a strong internal brand strategy will result in a strong brand Identity for your organization and one that positively represents its culture, ethics and values. It’s an image you project and it must be heartfelt and real, not hollow; an image that authentically mirrors your company’s mission and vision, and one that clearly identifies who you are and what you stand for to the players, the public, the press and your current and potential clientele. And yes, those in line at the supermarket, at the dinner party and that friendly stranger on the plane.
IT’S A LIVING THING.
In an ideal world your entire organization lives and breathes your brand. And while it will always be the case that some simply show up, sit at their desk and soldier on until 6:00 p.m., the majority of your organization truly wants to be part of something bigger than them. They want to be emotionally invested in the brand, their brand (it is their brand too after all), and they want to be a part of a culture that allows ideas to be shared and one where voices can be heard. They want to take pride in what they do and where they work. And when they’re empowered and truly invested, they’ll offer up valuable and unique perspectives you may never have imagined. They want to live it. And when they can live it they’ll provide you with a wealth of information to define (or redefine, if necessary) organizational processes and procedures, shape future strategic branding/communications/marketing initiatives, and create a free-to-be forum of full throttle creative ideation and innovation. Now get ready to watch as your internal branding initiatives come to life.
- Clearly articulate your brand’s internal branding mission and vision, with specific and measurable goals, from Day 1 and reiterate regularly;
- Ensure a clear understanding of how the internal employee audience is uniquely different from your external clientele;
- Encourage collaboration and leadership throughout the internal branding process;
- Define expectations and deliverables vis a vis associate behavior and daily actions;
- Empower, train & acknowledge everyone throughout the process.
And for more about tpg’s take on how your brand can maximize its awareness with a standout internal branding strategy, contact us today at 502.587.0044, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://pepperltd.com/contact/.