Branding From the Inside Out
Building a brand can be a time-consuming and sometimes expensive
exercise. (Although the resources on this site should help you with
affordable branding tools and techniques.)
But you can go through the
right process, do all the right exercises, and develop a solid brand
strategy, only to have your efforts fall flat.
One of the main reasons why this happens is that businesses going
through a brand revitalization often forget their employees or treat
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Yet your staff is critical to building a strong brand that will cut
through the clutter. Their buy-in can make or break your brand because
they are on the front lines. They are your brand ambassadors. They are
the voice and tone of your business. They are your best advocates and
your most loyal evangelists.
Your job is to make sure your staff is engaged, bought-in, involved, and communicated to continuously in the branding process.
addition to getting buy-in, you’ll also need to infuse branding signals
into everything your company does. Your new brand should drive
behaviors, expectations, and performance. And if you do it right and
consistently, you’ll be rewarded with improved employee satisfaction,
less turnover, and more productivity.
But the biggest dividends will be paid with a brand promise that resonates outside the walls of your business and shouts loudly and clearly to your customers and prospects.
Best practices supporting branding from the inside out
- Direct communication from the top leader is most effective when it comes to explaining the company’s vision
- Direct communication from a manager in tandem with live experiences is
the most effective vehicle for providing insights to improve
- Employees want greater contact that will improve their own performance—and that of their company
- Marketers must work closely with HR and leadership to build carefully integrated programs that leverage a variety of channels
- Effective brand communications starts with a positive workplace—one
that is filled with individuals who believe in your mission and can
communicate your brand effectively
- If your employees don’t
buy into your company’s brand and what you stand for, chances are they
won’t support your efforts and help you grow
- Make sure your
staff understands and can deliver the brand promise, especially in the
service sector where the relationship between employees and customers is the product the company sells
- Recognize that rebranding and branding are very different practices but both share many methods, some derived from other social sciences fields like anthropology and ethnography. Stealing Share talks about the rebranding process using field methods, but many of these tactics can apply to branding and not just rebranding.
- Communicate to educate: Every time you interact with staff you have an
opportunity to reinforce your brand communications which may include
your positive culture, mission and vision, respect, values, and
compassionate work environment
- Depending on the size of your
business, you may want to consider segmenting staff—since they are not
necessarily a homogeneous group—and develop messages that speak to
individual and/or functional benefits
- Beware of conflicting
messages and “program du jour” syndrome; make an effort to proactively
and clearly show the links between brand and other corporate initiatives
especially NEW initiatives or other organizational changes (i.e.
structure, management changes, etc.)
- Involve the “real
experts”—the staff—in the process of translating the brand into real and
relevant behaviors; the challenge in many organizations is actually
figuring out what needs to change in terms or service levels and the
behaviors of front-line employees who actually deliver against the brand
When you see the How-to-Branding.com Toolbox, it designates that the
following content is a tool, exercise, or technique you can use to help
develop your affordable brand strategy.
Specific tactics to engage staff and other stakeholders in the branding or rebranding process
- Brand launch event
- Messages on pay stubs
- Email updates or campaigns
- Information center (virtual—on an Intranet site—or live)
- Brand manifesto video
- Recognition programs that reward positive performance aligned with brand
- Banners or other environmental messaging (even in restrooms)
- Screen savers and wallpapers
- Voice messages
- Postcard campaign
- Scheduled events or live experiences
- Employee appraisal integration
- Integration into employee manuals, trainings, policies, etc.
- Integrate into employment applications, onboarding, orientation, and training
- Welcome packages for new staff including branded merchandise
- Provide each department with the brand story, look and feel, and
messaging guidelines so they can be worked into that department’s
activities and communications
- Brand some consumables like cups, napkins, water bottles, etc.
- Periodical newsletter or eZine
- Revise cover sheets, memo templates, PPT templates, etc. to align with brand
- Test staff on brand knowledge; reward results
- Tie brand into community functions and activities in which your company is involved
- Purpose-built promotional items or other giveaways
- Celebrate achievement
Click here to learn how stories help employees deliver the brand promise.
Or here, for another excellent article on this topic.
Learn more about Living Your Brand here.
Return to Branding Tactics page.