Are you considering building a unique internal brand at your company? If not, it’s certainly something you should invest time and resources toward. Below you’ll learn what it is and how to build one successfully.
When you think of the brand, most of the time it’s what your company portrays to customers, prospects, consumers and how your company is overall identified.
Yet, your employees are also the core of your brand, which is where the term “internal brand” comes in.
Most people tend to think that communicating with your employees like memos, bulletin boards, or company newsletters is enough to create a positive internal brand. It should be no secret today, that it is definitely not enough.
Below, we’ll dive into the following:
- What Is An Internal Brand?
- Why Internal Branding Is Important?
- Tips For Building Your Internal Brand
- Companies With Strong Internal Branding
What Is An Internal Brand?
As you know, branding is a form of identity your company has to the outside world. Things like the logo, other design elements, and how your company speaks — which separates your company from competitors.
The goal of the brand is to build a positive reputation, establish credibility, and creating a brand that consumers, prospects, and current customers trust.
But employees also have to feel a connection to the brand they work for each day.
Internal branding is about connecting employees to your company’s external brand. This means showing your team what that brand means and to ensure they understand and believe in the company mission.
What it comes down to is encouraging workers at all levels to become “brand ambassadors” to represent the company and its values.
Related: Electronic arts used gamification and employee advocacy software to ignite their corporate culture and improve their internal brand. Download the guide here.
Why is Internal Branding Important?
Hopefully, by the above definition and context, you probably have (or had prior to this post) a good indication of why focusing on internal brand is beneficial.
But, I’ll add some more insight here.
For one, your company does not function or exist without your team of employees. That should be obvious.
However, your employees are also the most trusted source of insight when it comes to your company and brand to outsiders.
When employees believe in the brand, their more likely to become brand advocates, share company content on social, and be some of the best business referrals.
- A Nielsen study showed that 84% of people trust recommendations from friends, family, colleagues over other forms of marketing.
- Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels. (MSLGroup)
Yet, the challenge is how many of these employees feel connected to their work, company, and mission of the brand?
Well, a Gallup Study showed that less than 30% of employees believe in the brand that employs them.
In other words, roughly 70% of your company has no feeling, connection to their company brand. Yikes!
This gap can harm your brand reach, your customer service or delivery to prospects, and can bring work productivity and office vibes down.
Tips for Building Your Internal Brand
To build a unique and compelling internal brand, it has to start with developing a strategy. This can be used to correct and improve upon any challenges your company has internally.
Your goal for the internal brand should be transforming employees into willing brand advocates that will contribute to your company’s success.
Below are some tips for building your unique internal brand.
Define your mission and values as a company
When creating your internal brand strategy, it has to start with defining your mission statement and your brand values.
Your company’s employees have to be aware of what these are, understand it, and believe in them.
Without defined values and mission, your business will lack purpose with which your employees can easily identify with.
The goal of this is to give your employees a reason to work for your company besides looking only at it as “just a paycheck.”
Additionally, it gets your whole company on the same page. Thus making it easier for them to provide the best insight for customers and prospects.
Include employees in your internal branding development
While leadership may have the final say in particular branding matters, it’s important to give employees a voice to be heard.
Include them in your internal brand initiatives, ask for feedback, thoughts, what could be improved, etc. It creates a better sense of community in your company. Employees want to feel involved beyond their day to day job function.
You must trust your employees, if not, your company would not have hired them. Allow them to share their ideas and insights about the internal brand and work culture.
Invest in a personalized employee experience
Do you want an invested team that cares? A company that has strong values in its internal brand? To do this, you need to care about the employee experience and personalize it.
Do not treat employees as just a number. And do not treat every employee like they are work-drones. Personalize and invest in their work and individuality.
Meaning, get to know their goals, interests, and values.
When employees are first hired to when they are growing their careers, employees should have a tailored plan for development and customized experience with your company.
Adopt software for employees to access information
Newsletters and memos do not have the same appeal and value as they once had. And just emailing employees also tend to get lost in inboxes or forgotten.
For employees to be connected to the brand, informed, and activated as brand champions, you need to provide the right tool to deliver and execute. That’s where employee advocacy software comes in.
Think of it as a central hub where brand content, company news, industry news, company documents, etc. is all hosted for employees to have access to.
They can hook up their social media accounts for easy access to share or schedule to their networks as well.
Additionally, they can comment, provide feedback, and tag other employees. Knowledge sharing and word of mouth are so crucial in our digital age, which is why employee advocacy plays a significant role.
- 74% of employees feel they are missing out on company information and news. (Trade Press Services)
- Use of social software by employees can improve productivity by 20-25%. (McKinsey)
Appreciate, recognize, incentivize, reward
For your company’s internal brand to succeed long-term, you can’t forget to continue spending time and resources to the initiative after launch.
Management and leaders should continue to appreciate and highlight those highly engaged employees. Or even share how said employees are helping the business reach their goals. These highlights can motivate others to get involved.
Your company can take a step further too and incentivize your internal brand and reward those who go the extra mile.
This also should not just focus on money, as it’s not always a guaranteed motivator for developing brand ambassadors long-term.
Think of outside the box and offer non-cash incentive ways as well to get employees more hyped and engaged with the brand.
Companies with strong internal branding
Now that you understand the value of building an internal brand, it’s time to share with you some examples of companies who have done this well.
After all, if you want to correct or build your own internal brand, seeing some examples for inspiration will be key.
T-Mobile – T-Mobile focuses on things like diversity in their workplace, their employees at various retail storefronts, rewarding team members, and more. But T-Mobile employees love their company and you’ll see many sharing their enthusiasm online. All thanks to the internal brand and value leadership brings to the company.
Drift – The conversational marketing and chatbot company took over the marketing and sales world the last few years. Why? Besides a great product, their internal brand got employees excited to be a part of the revolution. You’ll find them all over social sharing, commenting, and engaging with their brand.
Adobe – The computer software company combines a combination of what T-Mobile and Drift do internally. Yet, what Adobe does is drive creativity and imagination among their diverse employees. By giving employees creative freedoms and opportunities, they are driving a brand that their people truly believe in.
While I’m not including these companies exact internal brand playbook, take a look at their online profiles and social platforms.
Look up employees and how they are talking about the company they work for. This is exactly what you want your own organization to become.
Your company’s internal brand is equally important as the external brand and both work together for the greater good of the business.
Yet, without employees believing and feeling connected to your values and mission, your company’s overall brand can suffer.
But hopefully, the above insights give you a better idea of valuing your company’s internal brand and how to have long-term success.