Internal branding is rarely prioritised and even less often done well. If you’re not sure, check out the categories of most major marketing and communications awards. Internal communications gets barely a mention. Or when was the last time you saw a job ad and could tell the name of the employer before you clocked the salary? From the get-go, employee engagement is still the poor relation when it comes to marketing spend.
But it doesn’t have to be so and there’s plenty of evidence to say that organisations that focus on the internal as well as external brand message will feel the benefit. Consistent brand communication shouldn’t just be the preserve of the marketing department.
Marks and Spencer measured this. Over a four-year period they found an increase in sales of approximately £62m from stores with staff that could clearly explain the M&S brand, compared to those that couldn’t.
Why? Because a brand message will only work if:
• It’s made explicit
• It resonates and if it’s consistent across the business – whether you’re an employee or customer
• It’s authentic. If it’s not, it will be found out and won’t be used
If your staff don’t know your organisation’s values, how can they live them?
For the brave few this is a great opportunity to differentiate your business and to grow your brand from the inside out.
What makes successful brand messaging?
1. Knowing your audiences
Understand all of your audiences, if only so you can prioritise the ones that matter. This can be done through small research and is the cornerstone of building an authentic voice through your brand language.
Be creative. Make messages short, clear and memorable. To equip your staff with these messages they need to permeate from top to bottom and inside out. Likewise if they’re to work with your customers and external stakeholders.
Use a messaging framework/hierarchy to prioritise which messages apply to which audiences and how. Their creative application – whether through a strapline or boilerplate copy – will articulate the brand’s promise if used with…
Do you say one thing to your staff and another to your customers? Worse – are you inconsistent even within
these groups? Take the time to develop consistent application of messaging.
Don’t separate digital – it’s just a really good way to talk to your audience and bring your brand to life. Use messaging to speak with a single authentic voice to all audiences across all of your channels.
Written by Neil Gilbert, Corporate Client Services Director