The Importance of Internal Branding
Branding has become a huge buzzword in business and marketing. All marketing is done with a business’ brand in mind.
Marketers are asking themselves: what colors represent our values? What should our voice on social media be? What is our brand’s personality?
Entrepreneurs have been spending a lot of time thinking about how their consumers might perceive them and their products. With all this focus on external branding and marketing, the importance of internal branding can get lost.
Internal branding is about creating consistency within your company. It is equally as important to market your brand to your employees as it is to market your brand to potential customers.
One way you can connect your internal and external branding efforts is through your business’ design efforts. Colors and symbols are meaningful and important. They can also influence how customers and employees navigate your business’ online presence.
Tools like Logojoy and Bookmark Builder allow businesses to design cohesive logos and websites, respectively, with ease. Internal branding starts with identifying brand values, ideas, and goals, then communicating those components externally and internally using various methods.
Internal branding is significant to company morale, culture, productivity, and ultimately, revenue. If you haven’t yet been convinced of how a company’s success can be influenced by internal branding campaigns, read on to learn how internal branding can make a difference to any business.
1. Company Culture
The best way to establish your company’s brand among your employees is by weaving it through every element of the culture. This can include the physical setup of your office, the decor, company outings, memos, and perks.
The culture you create inside your office should be in line with the values you associate with your brand.
If the external brand you’ve created is based on community and acceptance, that should be reflected in your company’s culture and communication.
Establishing your office’s culture leads to improved morale and employees who are excited to be at work. It also allows for easier and more transparent communication between staff and employers.
Consider organizing company outings that are both on-brand and entertaining. If one of your brand values is teamwork and support, try attending a local sports game. If your brand values community, maybe you should organize a philanthropic initiative.
Keeping your activities fun and consistent with your branding will leave you with employees who are excited about what they’re doing.
Warby Parker, an online eyewear retailer, has created a team dedicated to maintaining their company culture. The responsibilities of the team include planning regular group outings, so everyone has something to look forward to, ensuring there are educational programs available, and setting up employee lunches.
2. Establishing Your Brand Assists Recruitment
Successful internal branding can also lead to easier recruitment. If potential employees are interested in your company, they’re likely familiar with your external brand. If your business doesn’t prioritize internal branding, you run the risk of creating a disconnect between how your business is perceived and how it operates.
When hiring, consider what would make someone want to work for your business and what got them there in the first place. Implementing internal branding guidelines will not only advocate for your business’ values and make people want to work for your business, but it will also help you understand who would fit best with your company.
During interviews, you can keep an eye out for applicants who seem to embody the same values as your brand.
You can try to figure this out in a few different ways. Ask questions that aren’t typically asked in interviews and would give you a good idea of what the interviewee’s character is. These can be lighthearted if that’s in line with your business’ values, or more profound.
Successful internal branding will make recruitment easier for you, whether it’s by creating an environment where people would love to work or helping you develop interview strategies.
Southwest Airlines, for example, uses their internal branding as a key driver for their hiring process; they conduct interviews with their brand’s values in mind, meaning that they vet candidates based on personality as well as experience.
During their group interviews, they ask questions that reveal character and allow each person in the group to assume a role, whether it’s leader or follower. They also ask questions like “When has your sense of humor served you best?” and “How would you describe yourself in one word?”
Questions like these allow candidates to show that they can think on their feet and align themselves with brand values.
3. Consistency Is Key For Both External and Internal Branding
There is far more to external branding than choosing colors to represent your business. The way the public thinks of your business comes down to your communication, your advertising, your slogan, your product, and how your company operates.
These things should all work together to promote your brand’s philosophy and values.
If they don’t work together, your brand’s message and goals will be muddled. Being clear about your brand’s voice, values, philosophy, and goals is the best way to ensure that your employees are all on the same page.
One of the best reasons to implement internal branding guidelines is to foster consistency between your marketers, the rest of your employees, and all of your platforms. Without establishing clear internal branding guidelines, you run the risk of having different voices across platforms.
Your internal brand identity and your external brand identity should blend seamlessly. If your business hasn’t prioritized brand guidelines and internal branding, your employees could have differing ideas of what your brand is or how it should be represented.
To establish an external brand, there needs to be consistent messaging from all your platforms. Successful marketing can’t happen if your email marketing, customer service, and social media voices are all at odds with each other.
Consistency can give your customers clear expectations and your employee’s something to work toward. Only when there’s consistency can the brand be effectively communicated to potential clients.
4. Take Pride With Your Brand
One of the best things about internal branding and establishing your business’ values is giving your employees the opportunity to feel excited about what you’re doing. Reiterating your company’s purpose and fundamental values reminds your staff why they’re there and how they’re helping people.
Internal alignment with core values means that employees will be passionate about what they’re working toward.
It’s an excellent idea to have your business’ values and goals both visible and accessible to your employees. Your goals and accomplishments are something everyone within your business should be proud of.
Starbucks made headlines for hosting what could’ve been considered a convention for its front-line employees. They went all-in, creating an event for store managers to connect with each other, the brand, and the coffee-making process.
This resulted in employees who were reminded of the brand values and why they should be proud of their work. It also proved that Starbucks cares about their employees by creating an event for their benefit.
While having employees who are proud of what you’re doing is great for company morale and employee relationships, it is also important for marketing and recruiting. When excited about what they’re doing, employees are more likely to share the company’s content on social media and with their friends.
For recruiting, if it seems that employees are happy and excited about their work, job candidates are more likely to be enthusiastic about employment.
Indeed, everyone in your company needs to know what the brand stands for. They — from the CEO to the rank-and-file employees — need to understand that if they fail to deliver the brand’s values, they fail the company. This is why focusing not only on external but internal branding as well should be a priority for any small business.