Have you been neglecting your internal branding?

Do all clients consistently get what they expect from your employees? Are their expectations exceeded or do you always barely meet them? The secret lies in internal marketing!  Over time marketing has become synonymous with external marketing – the marketing of the brand to your clients.

While external marketing ‘makes the promise’ to the outside world about the brand, internal marketing focusses on ‘enabling employees to deliver this promise’. Employees are the ones who ultimately make the brand come alive for clients in the golden moments where clients ‘experience the promise’!

Internal marketing might be an unknown concept, but it is equally important to market to your external clients as well as your internal clients (employees). Let us have a look at the obstacles you must be aware of to ensure that employees are equipped to deliver the promise external branding effort promotes. 

Emotional connection
Internal marketing is the best way to help employees make a powerful emotional connection to the services you offer. Without that connection, employees are likely to undermine the expectations set by your marketing efforts. 

Understanding the promise
If employees simply do not understand what you have promised the public, it is inevitable that they will end up working at cross-purposes. In order to make the story you tell externally successful you will have to ensure that all employees understand it and have the ability to make it come alive. 

Disengaged
Employees are unified and inspired by a common sense of purpose and identity. When employees do not actually believe in the brand and feel disengaged or, worse, hostile toward the business, it can have a detrimental effect. When employees care about and believe in the brand, they are motivated to work harder and their loyalty increases by default. 

Ill-informed
While management recognises the need to keep employees informed about the strategy and direction, few understand the need to convince employees of the brand’s power, it is taken as a given. Information is given to employees in the form of memos/newsletters but this is not designed to convince them of the uniqueness of the brand. Communication and conveying the correct message is crucial. 

The right moment
Most people have limited tolerance for change initiatives. At certain turning points, employees are seeking direction and are relatively receptive to these initiatives. Turning points are thus ideal opportunities for an internal branding campaign.  Remember to keep it consistent rather than over the top. 

Link internal and external messages
Employees need to hear the same messages that you send out to the marketplace. Internal and external communications are often mismatched. This can be very confusing, and it threatens employees’ perceptions. 

Consistency and a plan
As with external marketing, internal marketing also requires a plan that must be executed and reinforced. To be effective, these materials must be as creative and eye-catching as the materials you deliver to an external audience. It is a task of persuasion, not information, and dry, lifeless materials will quickly be shelved or discarded. 

By enabling employees to “live” the vision in their day-to-day activities, clients are much more likely to experience the business in a way that is consistent with what you have promised and all external marketing efforts will be money and time well spent. Go on and invest in your promise keepers who will ensure all of those external promises come true!

For more information contact Emmerentia Fick at emmerentia@succeedgroup.co.za

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.