Internal Branding Is About Your Employees
If you want consumers to love your brand, first your own employees must fall in love with it. If your employees aren’t convinced, how can you expect anyone else to be? Your employees are closest to the brand and have the opportunity to shape your brand regularly. The Healthy Brand cultivates a company culture where employees live and breathe the brand to bring it to life for their customers. Thus, your internal branding strategy is just as important as your external branding.
Employees Are Closely Tied to Brand Touch Points
The brand experience is the collection of every single brand touch point. Think about how many brand touchpoints involve employees. From customer service to the sales force to the distribution team driving your trucks, ALL of your employees should be capable of communicating the brand value proposition. Your employees play a critical role in the brand experience because of their involvement in brand touch points, where they are responsible for actively delivering on the brand promise.
Consumers Trust Employees
According to Marketing Charts, when customers were asked what attracts them to buy from certain brands (excluding factors of price and quality), 66% responded: “The company has a great culture — it does what it says it will do and delivers on its promise.” The same percentage of respondents also stated they were attracted to a company that “is transparent — with where it sources its materials, how it treats its employees fairly, etc.”
A Weak Internal Brand Is A Sign of Dissonance
A strong internal brand usually reveals alignment between the brand promise and the actual brand experience. If there is a lack of internal cooperation or clearness about the brand, this may indicate a dissonance between what is being promised and what is delivered. This should trigger further analysis of your brand.
Evaluate the Health of Your Internal/External Brand Alignment
To find out if your internal branding & external branding strategy is in alignment, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your current messaging strategy effective?
- What is the actual customer perception of your brand vs. what you think it is?
- Are you being objective when evaluating brand performance?
- Are customers dissatisfied?
- Do employees laugh or scoff at any of the company’s marketing?
Other symptoms of misalignment of internal and external branding to look for:
- Your brand is accused of not providing what you promised.
- Customers are always asking for discounts.
- Your team keeps blaming the customers for not fully understanding your product value.
- There’s a gap between what you communicate and what research shows customers want.
- People are initially excited about your product but disappointed once they purchase.
- You don’t have very many repeat customers.
Ensuring that internal branding aligns with external branding is critical for brand managers. Measuring customer experience, soliciting feedback from employees, and objectively looking at brand perception can help you identify areas where your brand needs work.
How To Improve Internal Branding
- Have a Clear, Well Defined Brand Platform
Getting everyone to understand and love your brand both internally and externally first requires defining the brand. For more information about the brand platform and what is needed, read, ‘The 14 Components of a Brand Platform‘
- Hire People Who Possess The Key Traits Of Your Brand
When you hire employees, who embody your company’s mission, you are more likely to attract similar, like-minded employees. This makes it easier to deliver on your brand promise.
- Hire People Who Love the Work
When people are doing what they love to do, they’re more likely to get the job done and do it well. When you’re working with a genuine passion for what you do, the work becomes more meaningful.
- Give Your Employees a Higher Purpose
A powerful internal brand is part of a company’s DNA. It’s in the way you work. Chances are, your employees are willing and able to be a part of something bigger. You just need to rally them together.
- Display Your Culture Inside the Office
At ParkerWhite, our core values are on our office walls as a daily reminder of how we do work.
- Intelligent listening
- Proactive forward thinking
- Creative excellence
- Dedication to perfection
- Live Your Culture Outside of the Office
Team bonding outside of the office is another extremely important aspect of internal branding. You want to actively partake in your company’s core values until it becomes a part of who you are. We get together and do what we love – being active and living healthy lifestyles.
With a strong internal brand, your company will be better prepared to attract new customers and keep them longer.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.