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 them indifferently.

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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.

In 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 effectiveness
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Speeches
  • Screen savers and wallpapers
  • Voice messages
  • Blogs
  • Postcard campaign
  • Training
  • 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.