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Brand Culture

4 Ways To Activate The Brand Experience Internally

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4 Ways To Activate The Brand Experience Internally

Traditionally, brand and marketing stewards are focused on the needs of customers, and for the most part, this still holds true. Equipped with the latest technology and strategies, brands try to delight customers with relevant products and services in order to give them the most appealing brand experiences. Large brands are increasingly building subtle bridges between suppliers and customers as services and products become in­creasingly smarter and more aligned with personal preferences. But what about the brand experience and involvement of employees? What is being done to involve employees just as much as customers?

Improving Brand Awareness

You’ve probably seen them, the tattle stickers on the back of a bus, truck, or pizza delivery vehicles. Stickers that are there to pressure employees into behaving a certain way in traffic and to be brand ambassadors. Is there no alternative? Those stickers would not be necessary if employees were involved with the brand in a more engaging way. It is time marketing also focused on the employees.

This is not the first time that someone has advocated for internal involve­ment, but often it remains just an idea or ad hoc initiative. Unfortunately, these situations hardly ever lead to lasting and positive brand awareness with employees. It is time to make brand awareness with employees a structural component of organizational success.

Brand management is a hot item within large organizations and goes beyond the brand manager. More often than not, it is becoming clear in boardrooms that the brand contributes to the business performance. Brands are increasingly strategic starting points for all activities. Companies that want to manage their brands properly will have to look beyond the classical marketing goals like sales, brand awareness, and product develop­ment. Modern brand management also takes the development and main­tenance of internal brand involvement into account within the strategic goals. Only then will internal and external brand awareness improve.

Marketing And HR Are In This Together

A brand is built from the inside to perform on the outside. Involved and motivated employees play a crucial role in the total value. This seems like an obvious truth, but why is the old adage “start from the inside to win on the outside” still implemented so poorly? Perhaps because the internal translation of the larger idea hasn’t been done properly.

Often that is because marketing staff and HR professionals cannot com­municate properly beyond their own focus. It is time for marketing staff and HR professionals to work together with other business units within the organization and to commit themselves to sharing the responsibility of brand ownership. For instance, this could be done by structurally coordi­nating the marketing actions with the HR program.

What if marketing considers all employees to be an internal target group? What would be their trigger? You could think of job ap­plicants as a target group. Brand management starts when you walk in the door, and all target groups have to be considered when defining the marketing goals and subsequent communication.

Tips For Marketing And HR To Activate The Brand Experience Internally:

1. Have a brand party for a new employee on his or her first day. HR is the appropriate department to create internal involve­ment alongside internal responsibility. This can help make employees aware that they play an important role in strength­ening and improving the overall brand experience.

2. Add brand responsibilities to job role descriptions and evalu­ations, letting employees know that they influence the brand experience and that it plays a role in their everyday tasks.

3. Make internal involvement part of the marketing plan and consider employees as a target group.

4. Make internal involvement measurable by making brand expe­rience part of the research into employee involvement. In many companies, this research is already conducted on a regular basis, but employees are rarely asked how they experience the brand and what role the brand plays in their interaction with customers.

By creating an internal campaign together, marketing and HR can increase the internal brand experience. This will mean that tattle stickers are not necessary anymore, and internal involvement becomes a logical part of brand management, helping to drive brand value.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Marc Cloosterman, CEO, VIM Group. Excerpted and adapted from his book Future Proof Your Brand.

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Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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