Employee communications

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Three Keys to Building Your Internal Brand

03 May 2017
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In a world where over half of consumers don’t trust paid advertising and an overwhelming majority trusts earned promotions, branding is everything. A good brand is one that stays positive in a customer’s mind. In order to avoid souring the brand and losing a chunk of your customer base, your company has to be fully aligned with the brand story and identity top to bottom. You need the tools and the strategy to reach your employees.

This goes beyond advertising and logos. Your employees are a part of your brand, too. If they don’t buy into it, your brand won’t be as strong as it could be. You need to build an internal brand that matches, in more ways than logo color, with your external brand. Here are three key ways to accomplish that and improve your brand overall:

  • Define your company’s values, mission, and culture

    Most organizations have a mission statement and a list of values written somewhere. The problem with most organizations that struggle with internal branding is that they don’t celebrate or articulate their mission or values clearly to their employees. Think of your mission statement as the foundation for your internal branding strategy. Once you build this under your employees and show them what it means and how you expect them to embody it, you can add more brand values on top of it.

    A good example is FedEx’s “Purple Promise,” a set of simple values and guidelines that all employees know how to follow, whether or not they work directly with customers.

  • Create an engaging brand narrative

    Building a narrative for your brand is crucial to reaching your target audience. It’s also a good way to instill your brand values in your employees. Employees will buy into your brand story if it engages and inspires them. A good way to get them involved in this narrative is to seek input from them on the perception of the external brand story and messaging. Working with employees and seeking their input will give you useful information on how to adjust your brand narrative to engage your employees, and improve employee engagement throughout your organization. Internal involvement will also help ensure that your employees are delivering a consistent brand message to all customers.

  • Walk the talk and reward others who do the same

    When everyone in the company, from the CEO down, participates, the internal brand culture thrives. Those crafting the branding culture should be the loudest cheerleaders and always exemplify the culture to the fullest. Reward employees who buy into the branding narrative and culture. Recognize their achievements, show other employees how it’s done and what you expect from them. This will not only incentivize participation in your brand and all it tries to accomplish, it will strengthen your brand story and identity.

Establishing an internal brand identity and narrative is more complicated than 1, 2, 3, of course, but these three tips form the pillars of an effective internal communications system that builds your brand from the inside out.

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Ben Renner

Ben Renner is an HR expert, writer, and Senior Editor of the Employee Communications Council. He has lived and managed his own business in Denver, Colorado since 2013. Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ben-renner-97708099/

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