Building your brand from the inside.
Our Strategic and Creative Director Richard Hurst recently wrote an article for Communicate magazine explaining why internal brand alignment is a powerful tool for employee engagement.
Fully integrating and aligning your brand and culture produces meaningful and powerful results that can drive your business forward. Having brand and culture alignment increases efficiency, prevents conflicting standards and enables everyone to work towards a clear and common goal. It ensures authenticity; today’s customers can see through advertising claims and no longer accept brands at face value, they want brands to live up to their promises. They don’t want brands to just appear authentic, they want the way they operate and the customer experiences to be consistent and shine through, enhancing the brand image.
By aligning your culture and brand, you are truly reflecting on the inside what you say on the outside.
For internal brand alignment, you need everyone in your organisation to share a common understanding of your brand. To do this you should seek to have a consistent view of what is “on-brand” and “off-brand”, especially with the key stakeholders. As well as a clearly articulated brand identity and positioning, that engages your employees.
Only when you engage your employees with your brand will they start to think and act in a way that will deliver the results you want to see.
So how can you tell if you have employee brand engagement?
Firstly, you will see more engagement with your brand strategy, employees will understand what makes you distinctive and they will understand your customers’ and audience’s needs. Importantly, they will understand how they can contribute to the customer experience, even if they do not have direct customer contact. Through this understanding, they will feel empowered to deliver on brand promises and demonstrate the behaviours that help create advocacy and loyalty from customers.
Secondly, you will see more day-to-day engagement with the brand. Employees will understand how their roles help make the brand a success and how they can nurture and reinforce the brand at every customer touchpoint. You should start to see decisions being made that are right for the brand in the long term, rather than short-term thinking. Leaders will expect everyone to do what they can to build the brand, not just the marketing department.
Finally, you should see employees having emotional engagement with the brand. Employees will act as brand ambassadors, sharing good news down the pub and with family and friends. Employees will feel an emotional connection with the brand and feel their personal values align well with the brand values. They will have pride in their work and feel their role is important. You should see increased retention as your employees show a clear preference to work for your brand ahead of competitors.
Building your brand from the inside, and truly integrating your brand and culture, will help your company grow and thrive over time but only if you continually focus on it. All too often the focus on brand and culture is made when a company is doing poorly or in crisis.
The time to do it is now, no matter if your organisation is at the beginning of its brand building or has been around for a long time. It is a journey you should embark on as soon as possible.
Richard Hurst is Strategic and Creative Director at WPA Pinfold. He has over 30 years’ experience working on major branding projects and is an expert at creating cohesive internal campaigns with a one brand mindset.
You can view more of our work in the Employee Engagement space here.