I spent a substantial portion of my career in launching new products, services and businesses. Branding and content was always at the core of these projects – down to the part where the decision on the shape of a logo involved three meetings and two trans-Atlantic conference calls. Face it, the brand is the whole shebang most of the time: Apple, Google, Coca-Cola.
Brand Ambassadors and Internal Branding and Content
Marketing the brand externally is a full-time job for numerous members of staff. But internally sending the same message almost never gets done as effectively. I maintain that you need to sell your own people on the brand, its values, and its purpose long before you try convincing external audiences.
Every single one of your employees is a brand ambassador whether you want them to be or not – especially in the age of social media. But if they haven’t been told what the message is, they can’t effectively spread that message. In short, if you aren’t spending at least as much time and effort on internal branding as you do on external, you are making a huge mistake.
One Vision, Multiple Audiences
There is one difference between internal and external marketing – the internal audience is probably going to be much more receptive to everything you do. Why? They work for the brand. It’s their career. They are going to want to know. External audiences won’t care as much; it’s not their paycheck.
And that’s the trap – “our employees are already on board (if not, they’re fired).” That’s an assumption you can’t really make. In all likelihood, they want desperately to be on board, and need you to get them the information to do so.
How you deliver that information to your workers depends of course on your corporate culture and how your employees are distributed (i.e. remote workers, etc.). Even fun ways of creating and distributing employee communications always must have an air of corporate sterility to it, but the more you can show your passion for your company’s vision and goals to your employees, the more quickly and easily they will buy in. When your messaging is consistent, your employees will respond.
Make Your Employee Communications Sing
So, build internal communications into your brand promotion. Every communications plan should have a section devoted to internal communications. In my experience, you wind up with a stronger internal understanding of things AND a better external program. The two reinforce each other.
Use your internal communications plan as a test for the effectiveness of external branding activities. If your employees don’t get the message, your customers probably won’t either. And conversely, what has worked with outsiders is almost certain to sell internally.
As a writer, this next one upsets me, but there is no arguing with the fact that video beats the written word when communicating. Take the time to use video because the message sticks.
If you do have to send out blast emails, keep them short and on point.
Above all, don’t engage in hype. Most employees don’t believe it. It’s too easy to succumb to cynicism as it is.
Don’t give them a reason to.