A company that publicly displays brand values and culture without buy-in and the belief of the team can be disastrous for a business ona
– Craig Barker, Koobr
The idea that a brand is all bells and whistles for the benefit of attracting, engaging and capturing customer interest is an outdated one; the benefits of brand go way beyond this, strengthening one of the most performance-critical areas of your entire business — your staff.
It’s not enough to have your frontline staff enforce branding across all types of customer interactions, they need to live and breathe your brand, and believe in everything it stands for. Only then will your customers believe in it too.
Brand communication starts from within
Nothing impugns brand integrity more than a disconnect between marketing PR and company staff. A successful brand relies on communication that is consistently strong and has the full support of your employees, regardless of whether customer interaction is part of their job role or not.
That’s because brand communication starts from within. It permeates every level of a company’s infrastructure, from top decision-makers to the person who answers the phone, and reinforces brand values, vision, and ethos from the inside out.
There are many great examples of how companies effectively communicate brand through their employees, who are, for all intents and purposes, ensconced in that brand.
Apple is well known for instilling brand into their staff, and it shows when you call up their customer service centre or walk up to an Apple store “Genius Bar”. Their staff are attentive, friendly and interact with customers in ways that are indicative and in accordance with brand values and personality — encouraging customers to explore products in fun, informative and creative ways.
Even customers who do not actively purchase during a visit to one of their stores are still left with a positive lasting impression of their overall experience with the brand.
That’s not to say a consistent brand emerges from conformist employees, far from it. Each individual needs to determine how he or she can deliver on the corporate brand promise in a way that’s authentic, leveraging the corporate identity with what ignites them and makes them exceptional.
A company that publicly displays brand values and culture without buy-in and the belief of the team can be disastrous for a business on many levels. A proper brand should provide impetus and direction, but that’s only possible when your staff feels connected and engaged.
Working with employees to help shape the values of your brand — allowing staff to individually interpret their roles as brand ambassadors — will not only secure buy-in, it also provides clarity and understanding, enabling staff to deliver on customer expectations.
The application of brand on the inside
Otherwise known as ‘internal-marketing’, the application of your brand within the company is no different to how you would use it to capture and engage your customers. It’s about creating and maintaining an emotional connection to your company that transcends any one particular experience.
Messages need to be reinforced and weaved into the fabric of your company, directed at employees — while aligning with everything your customers hear — and displayed at “touch points” throughout day-to-day interactions to ensure on-brand behaviour becomes instinctive.
Sure, internal-marketing helps influence the strength and consistency of brand messages to customers (like we talked about with Apple), but there’s so much more being done here… belief, enthusiasm, pride, and unification… these are all important qualities every workforce must possess if they are going to perform: One goal shared and accomplished through the passions and actions of the entire team.
There are many ways a company can use branding and advertising internally to engage staff, but it only resonates when it truly means something; when the messaging embodies the core principles that the brand stands for and the values it strives to uphold, not just a handout mug with the company logo emblazoned on the front.
Nike use on-brand messages that reinforce the same “Just Do It” attitude throughout their workplaces, for the purpose of inspiring the same motivational mindsets and innovations on which the company was originally founded. Likewise, the layout of Dyson’s offices in London is heavily influenced by the design and innovations indicative of the company and its entire culture.
Both examples use brand on the inside in the same way they would externally, for the same reason, tapping into what people should embrace about the company, only to very different audiences. The outcome, however, is one in the same.