Internal branding. It’s often maligned and misunderstood in part because it’s done poorly. Look first at who’s often driving internal branding efforts and you understand why the results are typically less than they should be.
Done well, internal branding is a powerful and proven strategy to drive engagement and the behaviors leaders want inside organizations, especially as it relates to a company’s ability to deliver on its brand promise.
It’s your employees at the front lines who decide at the “moment of truth” whether they will deliver what you’ve promised to your customers or not. Most organizations spend millions on marketing the promise, yet very little on ensuring that the reality of the experience matches the promise. Once again the employee audience is virtually forgotten except to hail the Coming of the New Advertising and Marketing Campaign.
What your customer experiences, especially in service industries, depends on a number of factors, none as critical as an employee’s level of engagement. Are they willing and equipped to deliver? Do they know how to resolve issues in ways that are consistent with the brand? All this is dependent on whether an employee understands what’s expected of him or her and the specific behaviors needed to meet customer expectations. In almost all cases – as our research and work shows – few organizations have defined the behaviors and daily actions needed, aligned the performance management systems to these key behaviors, and communicated all this effectively to employees (not to mention ensuring leaders at all levels model these behaviors).
If you’re looking to improve your engagement and business results, here are some must-haves for successful internal branding efforts:
- Ground your work in measurable, specific business outcomes
- Help key stakeholders know the difference between branding and internal branding, and how they work together
- Ensure there’s an understanding of how the employee audience is significantly different from external stakeholders
- Engage leadership during all steps, and especially to define the behaviors and daily actions needed to deliver on your brand promise
- Think beyond the logo; internal branding is so much more
- Real change requires commitment and alignment across functions
- Have a strong message platform focused on the behaviors needed before diving into tactics
- Tools aren’t enough; training, accountability and measurement are key to helping leaders drive change
- Integrate the behaviors into the performance development system so the right actions are reinforced and rewarded
- Remember, smart people have been here before. Ensure you have the right people partnering with you for a successful effort
Are you seeing a gap today between your brand promise and what your employees deliver?
- David Grossman
Back by popular demand!
Join David for his upcoming webinar, “The Power of Internal Branding” on Thursday, March 8, 2012, at 1:00pm CST. Click here for more information.