In Mothership’s first year, we started to aim our focus on internal marketing – also known as internal branding – and came to a few conclusions: 1) it is an important tool for a successful company to have in its marketing toolbox; and, 2) we are passionate about it, and understand the concept and its impact on innovation, customer service, loyalty and profitability.
In previous newsletters, we cited huge bottom-line success stories at Delta and Starbucks – both of whom practice strong internal marketing. Both clearly define their core values and shared expectations for all employees and executives which lead to corporate actions and behaviors that differentiate these brands as highly profitable, category leaders. The same case can be made for other highly regarded brands like Hampton Inn, Sam Adams, Ritz Carlton and Virgin Enterprises.
At Delta, the ‘Rules of the Road’ guide employee decision making. Starbucks closed over 7,100 stores a few years ago to re-train every barista and manager on how to make coffee and live the brand. Sam Adam’s holds the annual ‘Brew Master’ contest as a way to train and encourage innovation among employees. Hampton Inns empowers employees to ‘make things right’ when a customer has a legitimate grievance – to the tune of a $7-to-$1 return on investment generated by loyal repeat guests. Every Ritz-Carlton employee carries ‘The Credo’ on the job. And Richard Branson’s bold style and sense of adventure exudes from Virgin brands and employees, globally.
However, internal marketing isn’t just for big brands. We’ve seen it employed in small-to-mid-sized franchise operations, law firms, medical practices and hospital systems, financial institutions, and auto dealership consortiums – places where there is a lot of employee-customer interface, and high-quality service delivery and consistency are key differentiators.
Seven key principles drive successful internal marketing. Companies must INVEST in their employees; INCLUDE and INVOLVE them when evolving the brand; encourage them to be INNOVATIVE, to take INITIATIVE, and always with INTEGRITY; and create ENTHUSIASM in the work place. Most importantly, the buck starts and stops with senior executives. They must understand, accept, and live the following ‘truths’ if an internal branding program is going to be successful: 1) brand strategy is the visible expression of business strategy; 2) senior management must lead by example; and, 3) branding is every employee’s responsibility.
We’d like to speak with you about how an internal marketing program might benefit your brand, or a brand you represent – and to that end – offer you a free phone consultation. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a call to find out how me might be of service to you.