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Internal Branding and Engaging Employees

Generally speaking, an organisation will make a sizeable investment in its brand and promotion thereof, but how many companies communicate it internally and how many of its staff are aware of, and subscribe to, the brand values?

The Importance of Engaging with your Employees

The benefits are obvious when you think about it; employees working in a service-related business such as a hair or beauty salon are the main point of contact for its customers and therefore directly responsible for delivering on the brand values (these could be: high quality, premium service, innovation, and equally trust or responsiveness) and for maintaining customer relationships.

If the staff do not believe in the company’s brand, product or service, then one cannot expect them to communicate it effectively. Subject to the organisation, that effective communication will include office culture, the way staff present themselves, how they answer the telephone, right down to how long it takes them to do so. So a good fit between your brand values and how your staff think, act and, dare I say, feel, is fundamental to the success of your business.

Internal Branding in Practice

One of my clients, Waste King Limited, is a specialist waste collection and recycling company. It is imperative to their success that they communicate environmental benefits and waste reduction at every level. The management team quickly recognised this and, as a result, staff are actively encouraged to ‘live the brand’.

MD, Glenn Currie, says: “Our employees are examined on their recycling knowledge and required to demonstrate a natural desire for the importance of recycling and re-using where possible”. This is documented at all times and employees receive rewards for maximising recycling in a number of ways, ie 20% of all items sold or re-used will attract a bonus paid to staff and this is again documented for evidence. Employees also receive a bonus if Waste King achieves an increase in recycling rates. Supervisors benchmark training by weekly one-to-one and vehicle assessments. Glenn goes on to say: “Our staff are genuinely self-motivated, which we maintain with our training and strong work ethics”.

The Tangible Benefits

Clearly then this process is working for Waste King and the benefits therefore are:

  • Employee loyalty – staff with a strong brand affinity are likely to stay with an organisation longer.
  • Lower recruitment and training costs – as a direct result of the above, knowledge is retained within the business longer and fewer resources are required to recruit and train new staff.
  • Stronger staff morale – by improving the culture within the organisation.

How and Where to Start

It sounds quite simple in theory, but quite often a very valuable and missed opportunity. Here are my 5 top tips to help you get started:

  • Start at the top – ensure management believe in the value of internal branding and are consistent in their communications to staff in this regard.
  • Define the brand values – what are they and what are the benefits to your customers.
  • Take a reality check – identify where your brand is misaligned and the issues affecting delivery of the brand values.
  • Develop tools for internal communication – such as training, workshops, corporate videos. Implement an appropriate rewards and recognition scheme that encourages the right actions and attitudes (see Waste King).
  • Take stock – measure progress, both success and failure, over time and realign when necessary.

On March 23, 2017