Branding, strictly from a marketing perspective, is all about trying to make customers feel a certain way about a company. There is fierce competition in virtually every market for goods and services. What makes customers choose your brand over a thousand others offering similar services and products at similar prices? Customers buy from brands they trust, brands that make them feel happy and satisfied. In short, branding is all about creating an emotional connection. Internal branding and content has to take the same approach for a different audience.
Branding and Content That Forges an Emotional Bond
As anyone with a soul will tell you, there’s no roadmap to everyone’s heart. Everyone responds to messages and communication differently. Everyone has different experiences informing their reactions to things. As a manager, you already know the challenges to making sure everyone gets the same information and knows what to do when they need help, and getting the right people in the building.
Your employees are expected to have a high level of loyalty. They’re supposed to help and honor each other, their supervisors, their managers, the CEO, even. And that’s before we get to the company and the brand itself. How can you foster loyalty at each level? By crafting your branding and content initiatives to not only elicit responses and engagement, but to engage with your employees on an emotional level. It’s a marriage of marketing and HR concepts.
As an internal communicator, there are many factors to consider for the presentation and delivery of your branding and content initiatives. The content of course has to be engaging, not a simple recitation of company policies and procedures. It has to be easily accessed and delivered in a way that makes engagement enjoyable. Employee communications systems like decision support tools, digital postcards, local intranets and messaging applications, and others make your content easier to understand and respond to.
Internal Branding is Key
Inward-facing branding needs to speak to employees as if they are in on a secret club. They’re exclusive, they’re favored over others. You don’t want to put your employees above your customers in this instance, but the more you can make your employees feel like they’re in on something, the more they will respond. Another key to internal branding is giving your employees what they want. This again speaks to ease of access to communication materials. If you have benefits packages, your employees will expect to be able to access and use them. Make it easy. Remote workers need to be able to check in and share information. Help make your employees’ jobs easier. They will recognize this and go all-in for your brand.
Primary motivation comes from supervisors and managers, but deeper motivation, the sense that an employee has to do whatever she can to help her team and your company, comes from your company’s mission and vision. Many organizations have mission statements that employees read on their first day and then forget. Make your mission clear and apparent at all times to your employees. Live by it, show it to your employees, remind them of it, and above all, show why it’s important. This is the source of the deepest emotional connections your employees will have with your brand and your company.
Internal branding and content initiatives must be useful and accessible. Communication has to have a clear purpose to make their jobs easier. And your branding efforts have to be bolstered by that overarching motivation exemplified by the company leaders and your mission statement.