Building a brand is an exhausting (but extremely rewarding) task. It involves creating a story that brings to light everything that your company stands for. There is a, however, caveat to this process that often gets overlooked. Yes, the branding strategy must be chalked out keeping in mind the end user - the consumer, but there are other internal stakeholders as well who interact with the brand on a daily basis - your employees!
Why should you talk about your brand internally?
A comprehensive brand identity gives your brand a voice, a personality and most importantly it espouses a feeling of emotional connection from your employees. Your employees have ‘feelings’ about your brand, which may not necessarily be evident to you but can have a subtle impact on their commitment and productivity. Employees may feel disengaged with the brand or may feel a sense of dislike or hostility if the company values are diametrically opposite to theirs.
Surveys conducted on Gen-Z employees working in fashion retail report that over 50% of Gen-Z employees prefer to work for brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible. Such values highlight the need for companies to align their brand position with those of their workers, and to communicate their commitment to them.
Having a strong internal brand that receives employee buy-in and is viewed favorably by all stakeholders in the organization can have a positive impact on talent acquisition and retention as well. Leaders who focus on selling the idea to customers need to turn around and sell the power of the brand to their employees as well. Simply looping in team members during an ad campaign without convincing them of what all the brand can do, will not do the job. When employees believe in the brand vision, their loyalty increases, and they spend more effort in ensuring the success of the brand,
How can you make this happen?
Internal communication such as through newsletters, mailers, screensavers, and regular update meetings can help employees feel engaged with how the company sees itself. In industries such as retail,hotel, and banking where a large chunk of the employees are customer-facing, well-synchronized internal and external communication about the company is capable of providing a consistent customer experience.
When creating an ad campaign, it helps to direct the message toward both the customer and the employee. Such messaging allows employees to get a clearer picture of what their company stands for and how it differentiates itself from its competitors. A good example of this is when IBM took out an 8-page advert in the Wall Street Journal talking about its new vision.
You need to start now!
In the present economy where the talent pipeline seems to be broken at many places, and with a skewed supply-demand relationship between jobs and applicants, no company should let the benefits of internal branding communication go to waste. In addition to engaging your existing talent pool, a strong communication strategy can also prove to be very useful in attracting new talent.