At Mothership, we believe it is imperative to look inside a company and its culture before going to market with a brand promise. Employees can be your best brand ambassadors, and if they believe in, and live the brand’s core values and its promise to consumers, they will deliver exemplary customer experiences. And, that typically translates into excellent financial results.
Why Brand Internally. Internal Branding, also referred to as Internal Marketing, is becoming a widely utilized method to garner employee support and dedication to the Brand. In particular, companies that are going through transition or periods of sales stagnation need to keep employees focused on the core values and philosophies of the brand so that the promise the Brand makes to its consumers (and the employees) is delivered consistently – all the time – and at all touch points. Internal Branding provides an easier decision-making track for employees, and helps identify a clear path to reward and career advancement. It ensures the brand proposition is reflected through actions, not just words. Internal marketing stimulates an increased sense of corporate community and camaraderie and increases sense of pride and satisfaction among employees. This also assists in retaining employees as well as attracting new employees.
How to Start Branding Internally. Management must understand, accept, and live the following ‘truths’ if it is going to be successful:
- Brand strategy is the visible expression of business strategy
- Brand strategy means senior management leads by example
- Branding is every employee’s responsibility
Management must be willing to:
- Include employees and listen to what they have to say about their current work environment – and even more important – be willing to hear bad news.
- Involve them in being part of the solution and not the problem
- Empower them to take initiative to correct what’s broken and leverage what isn’t
- Encourage them to be innovative in creating a dynamic Internal culture, products and services
- Invest seriously in infrastructure, training, social advocacy, and the Internal Marketing program to reach ‘end game’
- Set the gold standard for integrity within the organization
- Create enthusiasm for the organization.
How To Get There. Solid research among employees is critical. Levering those insights into an actionable internal marketing strategy, paramount. To be successful, an Internal Marketing program must be strategically focused, comprehensive, well planned, and accompanied by a wide-ranging communications program. Typically, an Internal Brand marketing program will entail the following components:
- Employee Market Research
- Identification and establishment of Core Values
- Development of Key Messages
- A Brand Handbook
- Internal Messaging Systems
- Internal Guerilla Tactics
- Standards Guide
- Brand Champion Team
- Kick-off Event
Attract the mind, you get action. Attract the heart, you gain commitment. Quoting Curtis R. Welling, former CEO of Americares: “Being successful financially is a necessary condition for corporate success, but it isn’t a sufficient condition to stay successful. Money only has certain staying power. If you don’t do more for your employees, you are vulnerable. Unless you’ve established an emotional, not just financial, connection with your employees, you’ll always be susceptible to the next person who can trump you by one dollar.”
Read about how Delta Airlines has used internal branding with great success here.