The Importance of Internal Branding

This month, we examine how internal branding can build brand love, turn your employees into advocates, and boost the bottom line.

While companies spend millions of dollars on external communications, many overlook one of the most important components in establishing brand love and loyalty: Internal branding. Taking the time to ensure that you have a clear, authentic brand message that is tied to your DNA – and that every employee understands and can speak to it – not only increases employee retention and engagement, it creates a higher sense of purpose, which directly impacts the bottom line.  In fact, companies with a shared sense of purpose outperform others by as much as 400%.

Internal branding is especially important when you are launching a new service or pivoting your consumer messaging in order to ensure that all client-facing employees can be true advocates. Everyone in your company, from the C-suite to individual teams, should feel engaged in creating the story. An external adviser who can be threaded throughout the company across silos can make this process friction-free, bringing fresh clarity and ensuring consistency. In the end, the best internal branding doesn’t merely state facts, it engenders beliefs – that is what moves the needle.

Putting It Into Practice: Employees Play a Key Role

We asked Professor Nicholas Ind of Kristiania University College, Oslo and author of the recently published Branding Inside Out; In theory and in Practice for his advice on how to best engage employees in internal branding.

“When it comes to internal branding, managers should work out how the brand can support what it is employees do.  How can it make their working lives better?  How can it help them change their working practices?  How can it help build better relationships with customers and other stakeholders?  This requires clarity about what the core of the brand means, but it also requires the flexibility to allow people to explore and to experiment – to accept some disunity. In the end, living the brand needs a leadership approach that inspires and supports rather than one that seeks to control.”

Martellus in Action: Three Tips on How to Create Effective Internal Branding

Martellus Expert Amy Giddon is a branding expert who has held executive positions at RushCard and American Express, where she led Strategic Planning, Marketing, Business Partnerships and Customer Information Management.  Here, she offers her three tips on effective internal branding.

1. Be clear, consistent and authentic in your messaging. For branding to resonate, it must be true to your brand’s DNA in content and tone. Don’t try to be the flavor of the week.

2. Demonstrate top level commitment.  It is important that the C-suite be visibly involved and give departments the framework to cascade the message. Everyone who touches your brand should understand how the work they do aligns with the brand promise.

3. Give everyone the opportunity to be brand advocates.  Your employees, especially those who are client-facing, can become your greatest evangelists. Ensure that they have avenues of expression on social media by creating a branded site, template, assets, tools and resources.