If you’ve ever studied companies like Disney, Apple and Starbucks, you know one of the keys to their brand’s success is consistency.
From specific colors to how their employees treat customers, these companies dedicate large amounts of time, money and care to ensure every brand touchpoint is consistent across the board. But what about their internal branding? Do their employees get creative campaigns to inform them of change, or just memos with bare bones messaging?
Indeed, a successful brand is consistent from the inside out. Most companies, however, pay more attention (and money) to their external market rather than their internal one — the employees who bring their brand to life. This is a costly mistake that can even lead to a company’s demise.
The importance of internal marketing is based on emotion. Colin Mitchell of the Harvard Business Review writes, “the goal of an internal branding campaign is very similar to that of an external campaign: to create an emotional connection to your company that transcends any one particular experience.” Full-time employees spend an average of over 2,000 hours a year working. It makes sense that they want to like what they do and who they do it for. Consider the following three areas when communicating with employees.
It’s not enough to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.
If your internal values are drastically different from your external messaging, your employees will operate at odds with your goals and purposes. For example, if your latest advertising campaign touts genuine care for your customers, but your employees are still told that their numbers and output are all that matters, your customer service won’t live up to the standards your advertising has set. To accomplish this, align your external marketing with your internal messaging. This is not a one-and-done action — keeping your messaging consistent on the inside and out is a journey that involves every cog in the machine.
Timing is everything.
If you want to improve your internal branding, choose your moment wisely. Most people aren’t fans of change, even if it will mean better communication in the long run. However, if your company is approaching a turning point such as a merger or appointment of new leadership, it may prove as the opportune moment for a rollout of new internal branding. In fact, poor communication during a turning point can lead to feelings of animosity towards the company. Without a natural turning point, it may be best to create your own moment by launching a new marketing strategy.
Make your brand an experience for your employees.
Giving your employees messages that match their experiences ensures that their behavior will match your brand and values — whether they’re at work or not. One place to start is by seeing to it that your employees have unfettered access to your company’s product or service so they can convey a more authentic experience outwardly. For example, Sewell Lexus has all their employees drive a Lexus so they can get to know the product better and know exactly what they are selling. Then, they can truly attest to the quality of the product. Whether it’s your company’s policies or physical space, your employees should feel entrenched in the success of the company, no matter how small their role may be.
While there is constant pressure on a company to roll out new products or services to the external public, your internal marketing should be a priority. Many companies recognize the importance of conveying vital information to their employees, but it is often done poorly through uncoordinated memos and a copious number of emails.
According to the Harvard Business Review, when people care about and believe in the brand, they’re motivated to work harder and their loyalty to the company actually increases. You have to convince your employee of your brand’s power and show them what you stand for. Because if even your employees don’t genuinely care about your company, your brand will surely suffer.