When thinking about branding, it is often the mistake of focusing all efforts exclusively on achieving an emotional connection with customers. The reality is that any company and any brand has multiple stakeholders to whom it must communicate its value proposition: customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, community… This doesn’t simply involve how information is organized for them, but rather how the business itself is organized and understood. It is based on the premise that any company, whatever its type, actually connects people with people through its products or services.

The Great Forgotten Ones of Internal Branding

Unfortunately, employees are the forgotten ones in this equation for brand building. Let’s think that no one like them can get to experience the brand first-hand and yet that enormous potential is not taken advantage of and, on too many occasions, what they know about the brand is what they see through advertising. Despite this circumstance, it has been shown in various studies that employees aligned with the brand, who know its values, who share its culture, are much more productive, have the ability to generate better experiences and greatly increase their loyalty to the Company.

In this framework, those companies that believe that branding is something that affects only the marketing department are missing a great opportunity to strongly build their brand. We cannot ignore that, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer study, employees manage to generate greater trust in the brand than the CEO himself. The good news is that building inward branding and achieving internal alignment represents a great opportunity to build a strong competitive advantage.

How do you get the entire organization aligned with your brand strategy?

1. Initiates the commitment from the Management. Internal alignment starts with the management team so that they can inspire the rest of the staff. If employees believe that this is a priority goal, they will also adopt it as a fundamental one and chain transmission will be much easier.

2. Develop a clear strategy for the brand. You can’t achieve alignment if you don’t have a well-defined brand strategy that clearly frames your purpose, your values, your personality, and how this affects what is expected of your employees. It will be very opportune to define the behaviors in line with the brand and establish the expected performance guidelines. This will facilitate alignment across the various levels in the Organization.

3. Connect the inside to the outside. Employees need to hear the same messages that are sent outwards to feel motivated. It is not so much an aspect of form as of content. Too often, internal and external communication work in isolation. To build a brand, it is necessary to align the areas of marketing and human resources. In addition to the planning and execution of internal communication strategies, it is advisable to organize training programs that facilitate the understanding and integration of employees according to the objectives described.

4. Reward the effort. When employees realize the result of their actions, it’s much easier to get their commitment. Conduct and share regular reviews of the situation with them, and make sure that their bonuses or variables have a direct relationship with the value they bring to the brand. In addition to tangible rewards, there could be other intangible ones such as prizes for the best brand ambassadors.

 

Let’s not forget that one of the fundamental principles in building a brand is authenticity. That’s why you can’t force an employee to feel emotionally attached to the Company and the brand that represents it. As with customers, it is necessary to build a two-way relationship and generate a brand experience within the companies as well. This is the only way to ensure that the outward experience reaches its full potential.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

President of Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock


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