A robust internal brand is the foundation for a strong external presence. When a company is able to communicate and embody the sense of the brand, bring it to life and inspire employees and customers alike, it becomes a powerful force. If executed well, internal branding positively impacts on a company’s future growth, customer loyalty and employee satisfaction.
Internal branding often plays a secondary role to external branding, yet it has a crucial role in business success. In a saturated market, an organization's employees are often the key differentiators.
The leadership and culture of an organization is pivotal to a strong internal brand and helping employees delivering the brand promise
An attractive and strong brand is built on internal mobilization and genuine employee commitment. It is about guiding and engaging internal forces towards a common goal and giving each employee the prerequisites to understand, engage with and live the brand.
Employees flourish in organizations where the brand creates and has meaning, is relevant and people truly identify with it. When employees embody the brand and feel affinity with the culture behind it, they deliver on and defend the brand. The brand’s power comes when the company formulates a sense of the organization that is credible both internally and externally.
For employees to live the brand* they need to go through three phases:
- Know the brand and what it stands for
- Understand their own role in delivering on the brand promise
- Become personally committed and passionate about the brand
Different brand stakeholders often have diverse expectations and understanding of the brand. To gain a competitive advantage, organizations should interact with and secure all brand touch points, driving employees to deliver a brand experience that reflects the desired profile and reinforces a strong brand.
Business growth relies on satisfied customers and great experiences that originate from informed and satisfied employees. The relationship between employees and customers is at the heart of the brand experience. Like any successful relationship this requires honesty, openness and a common interest. A powerful brand is created when the employee and the customer share the same passion.
A brand is not static, it should be seen as a living organism that evolves with the organization. If the brand is left to stagnate, employees will lose faith, causing a ripple effect which will dilute the brand strength externally.
Internal branding starts with company leaders, who, as the main brand ambassadors, must embrace and communicate the value of the brand and know the impact it has on the company’s future growth, customer loyalty and employee satisfaction. The internal branding process relies on communications and behaviors. It also ensures the existence of the brand platform and creates an environment where all employees feel committed to and share the same image of the brand. A process that creates opportunities for all employees to fall in love with their brand.
A game-changing, transformational market advantage is the reward for organizations when the brand is lived by culture and evolution.
*Interpretation of David Aaker