Date Added: June 2005
One of the most underutilized marketing and organizational development strategies is internal branding. Many companies are not proactive at implementing the proper processes to ensure their employees understand and effectively communicate the brand to others. Most employees recognize what the brand is; however, many have complications communicating what the brand signifies.
A brand is more than a logo or tag line. It is a relationship that organizations have with everyone they touch, including employees, customers, suppliers, end users, etc. A company's brand should be embodied in every aspect of business to accurately portray the brand to target audiences. This not only includes the organization and products, but also customers and employees.
Employees are the most important representatives of a company's brand.1 They interact with the brand more than others in the value chain - customers, distributors, vendors, etc.1 They are company ambassadors or "evangelists."
With today's technology, customers may reach all touchpoints within an organization - including most employees. It is through the employees where the implications of the brand are expressed, which is why internal branding is vital to any organization.
All employees should communicate the brand like the CEO. For example, when meeting someone in an elevator, you may ask who they are and what they do. Your employee should be able to accurately explain the organization and communicate the brand in the few minutes it takes the elevator to reach its destination. This is often referred to as an "elevator story."
For an effective "elevator story," employees should be able to answer these questions:
To introduce an internal branding strategy, a company should expand their B2E (business to employee) relations. One internal branding approach is to include B2E elements on the Internet and intranet, which are valuable tools to communicate with employees. Employees use the company Internet to learn about their company, see their own brands in action, and understand how to best position the organization to customers and others. When revamping an Internet, make it more B2E conducive. Consider:
Internal branding is essential for companies, so employees can efficiently communicate the brand significance to others. In today's competitive marketplace, recruiting the "right" employees is a key organizational priority and differentiating factor. With full knowledge of the brand for an effective internal branding strategy, employees are a company's best marketers and recruiters.
1 Oliva, Ralph A. "Reach for the Moon." Marketing Management. March/April 2005: 48-50.