Are your employees sending the same brand message?
If you asked each of your employees to describe your business and what you do, how many different answers would you get? Branding is a term generally associated with advertising. But most businesses don’t consider branding “within” the company.
Consistency in branding is important. When there is branding inconsistency, customer experiences are different from their expectations. Advertising may send one message, while employees send another. Internal branding gives employees a specific, positive feeling about the company, or “culture”, that they ultimately convey to others. Employees at every level should understand your brand. Here are a five ways to internalize your brand so that everyone is sending the same message.
1. Establish brand guidelines.
Brand guidelines include basic rules for how your company’s image is represented. Begin by clearly stating what your company does. What makes your company different? Every employee should be able to describe the company the same way.
Logo, colors, fonts, tag line, and photo usage are all part of standard brand guidelines. However, branding guidelines can also include the general experience you want customers to have. How customers are greeted, how products are packaged, or what employees wear all contribute to branding. Whatever your guidelines are, it is important that employees at every level understand how the company is to be represented.
2. Designate a brand leader.
Now that you have established brand guidelines, how do you implement them? Find someone within your company to be your “brand leader”. For example, a brand leader can educate employees on brand guidelines, monitor how employees interact with customers, manage what is being posted on social media, internal communications, and how logos are being used.
3. Represent the brand, always.
Everyone in your company represents your brand. Encourage employees to always think about how others associate them with the company. How employees dress, what they say and post, and even their demeanor can impact your brand.
4. Establish a culture.
Branding can also create a culture within the company. Your company’s internal culture creates a feeling — an experience. Employees should share the same feeling by understanding your brand, mission and message. Posters in the break room, company coffee mugs, screensavers, and company shirts are only part of the internal branding equation. Employees need to be inspired. Include employees in company videos, and advertising photos. Let them be experts in their areas. Make employees invested in the process.
5. Remind, Acknowledge and Reward
Implementing any program is one thing. Maintaining it is quite another. Keeping employees motivated to represent your brand is an ongoing process. Allocate a portion of weekly meetings to discuss branding. Acknowledge employees who make exemplary efforts to represent the brand. Reward employees with incentives, contests and praise.
Implement these simple internal branding tips, and your employees will not only have a greater understanding of your company’s image, they will be proud to represent your brand. And your customers’ experiences will match their expectations.