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You know perfectly well the importance of branding. After all, every business wants to sell more. The way customers perceive your brand is affected by all your external branding activities. However, you cannot forget about internal branding. Employees are as important as clients. They create products, provide services and help customers. Therefore, it is crucial that they properly perceive the company, value it as a workplace and want to work in it. What exactly is internal branding and what is it about? How to build an effective internal branding strategy?
What is internal branding and its process?
Employees need to have a proper relationship with the brand they work for. Internal branding is the process of creating a bond between company employees and its external brand. It allows them to get to know the brand, company’s mission as well as goals, and to make sure employees understand and believe in them. In this way, employees at all levels can become brand ambassadors who represent the enterprise and its core values.
If employees are not familiar with the company’s purpose and brand values they will be unable to convey them while processing an order or serving a customer. And yet, they are the most trusted source of brand insight for outsiders. If employees appreciate the brand and believe in it, they are more likely to share brand content on social media or recommend particular firm services to others.
Research shows that the vast majority of people trust the recommendations made by family, friends, and colleagues. It means that brand messages achieve much more when they are shared by the company’s employees. Meanwhile, only around one out of three employees say that they feel attached to the brand they work for. This can lead to the reduced reach of the company, customer service that leaves a lot to be desired, a tense atmosphere in the office and inefficient work. Now you know the answer to the question “why is internal branding important”.
An internal branding strategy – how to plan it?
Developing internal branding strategy is extremely important for the success of the process. What internal branding steps should you take? Above all, you need to set up the proper internal communication with and between employees, since it is a crucial aspect of internal marketing. You cannot build strong brand values if you are unable to spread them effectively among your staff. Now you have a chance to get familiar with the internal branding best practices.
Internal vs external branding
Internal branding differs significantly from external branding. Logos, newsletters, flyers, posters, or any other tools that have an effect in external branding will not be of help here. The approach to employees must be unique so that they are willing to become brand ambassadors. Therefore, it is important to plan appropriate internal branding activities.
Connect the internal brand with the external brand
Although internal branding and external branding are very different from each other, it is worth linking them together. Logos, print designs, company themes and colors are already designed, so you can present them as a harmonious whole. It’s worth connecting employees with company’s external brand.
Your employees should receive the same messages in the company that are shared with the outside world (e.g. through external advertising) . Unfortunately, at most companies, external and internal communications are inconsistent.
It is worth educating new and existing employees about the brand identity. You should show your team what the brand means, what the core values are and make sure that they believe in the company mission. Keep in mind that an effective internal communications strategy should be in line with the company values. The correlation between internal and external branding can definitely strengthen the company’s authenticity and positively affect internal corporate branding.
Brand ambassadors – internal branding and employee engagement
Why not try to be open to ideas and suggestions made by your employees? They will see themselves as a crucial part of the company and feel that they have an impact on the way your brand functions if you let them make certain decisions. So consider creating opportunities for your staff to express their concerns or pitch their ideas through internal research, anonymous surveys or short Q&A sessions.
Employees can choose their own leaders to manage the brand building work, which in turn will increase the positive feeling and motivate everyone in the office. When they believe in the brand they’re more likely to become brand advocates. Employees should be free to share their interests and encourage others to do that. This will inspire everyone to cooperate and combine personal experiences with the internal company’s values.
Get to know your employees better
It is always worth getting to know your employees better. It is difficult to manage a team when employees are like complete strangers. As mentioned above, information about staff can be collected in various ways. You can use polls, personal conversations, open discussions, social media and more. Consider asking employees what elements or core values in the firm are important to them. However, make sure that honesty is put above the company policy.
In order to obtain the most relevant information from the conducted surveys or interviews, they must be planned at the right time. One day employees may have many ideas, and the next day their creativity may diminish. This is perfectly normal. However, it would be good to find the appropriate day. Remember that branding, whether external or internal, is a long-term process that can’t happen overnight.
The next thing that comes to mind is, of course, fun. Everyone enjoys some kind of playfulness. It is important for employees because they can integrate and then cooperate better. They can also strengthen ties with the brand. A company event, trip, or workshop are some of the interesting ideas for providing employees with a dose of joint entertainment. Of course, employees should know about such attractions in advance. It is best to inform them via internal documents, bulletin boards, emails or presentations.
A strong internal branding strategy in the future will help you attract employees in line with your company’s values.
Determine the needs and expectations of your employees
How to take care of the employee experience and make it personalized? Internal communications are the key. You can discover the motivations, needs, desires, or expectations your employees have only through a conversation. Internal communications are about dialogue and providing information to employees, just like in the case of external audience.
Each staff member will surely have something interesting to say. Take all their opinions into account, and let the director, manager or another senior person also be present in this process. In this way, employees will feel important and appreciated. Thanks to good internal communications, they will start to perceive the company in a much more positive light, which will have a positive impact on internal brand building.
Appreciate and reward employees – this is an essential element of internal brand strategy
You must pay your employees for the work they do. However, in some cases this may not be enough. It is worth rewarding them additionally for the effort in internal branding campaigns. You should appreciate and reward highly engaged employees who support your internal branding efforts. The rewards motivate and encourage further engagement and responsibility for their actions in the company. Appreciating staff is the best way to build internal brand awareness among employees. How can employees be rewarded? For example, through an additional financial bonus or a gift, such as tickets to sports or cultural facilities (a gym, swimming pool, theater, or cinema).
Take care of internal brand management in times of change
Change is a constant part of business. However, rapid modifications in company’s products or services, in the company itself (rotating personnel, a new leader, restructuring) or on the market, cause the so-called transition period. Your employees might need a moment to learn about the changes and get used to them. Maintaining a consistent internal structure during that time might be quite difficult and it can have a negative impact on internal branding campaign. You have to keep everything under control and turn the situation to your advantage. Present a few fresh ideas and new brand messages to your team – this should help you keep the employee morale high.
Implement the internal employer branding strategy
If you have already taken all the necessary steps of internal branding campaign, you still need to implement a ready-made branding strategy in your company. One of the interesting ways is to refer to the company history. This can significantly speed up the internal branding process and create a deeper connection and bond with employees, who will be more willing to come to work and conduct their duties more efficiently. The result will be not only a higher employee engagement, but also effective business referrals. Keep in mind that successful internal branding is an ongoing process that requires constant evaluation and improvement.
Internal employer branding – summary
A proper internal branding strategy brings many benefits. Strong internal branding campaign builds almost unbreakable relationships between employees and the brand, combines internal and external marketing, makes employees brand ambassadors, enables them to have organic experiences in emotional connection with the brand or finally, distinguishes the company from the competition.
There is no clear-cut rule on how to do internal branding. It is only up to you which internal branding company ideas you come up with and whether you use them well. Positive results can be achieved only when employees notice that they are part of something larger while maintaining individuality. They will do their job better, the quality of customer service will improve, and so will the credibility of your company’s brand.
You can read more about branding in the article “How to improve a business” on the Nopio blog. Because of the great importance of internal branding, it is worth using the help of specialists and consulting. Nopio provides corporate branding services, both in external and internal branding.