“Head office hasn’t given that to me.”
“Our differentiator? Um … let me get back to you.”
“No, I didn’t see that updated sales deck.”
These are the things you might overhear your sales team say to customers if they don’t have a strong relationship with your Brand.
And you can’t even blame them for it.
This is a mistake we see companies make day in and day out. They put all this effort into crafting a recognisable brand – the logo, the tagline, the collateral – and it’s all 100% externally focused.
Brand success happens from the inside out.
Internal marketing is critical because it helps your employees make a powerful emotional connection to the products and services your company sells. It helps build their belief in your brand, internalise your value proposition, and understand and support the expectations you’ve set with your customers.
To successfully market your brand to customers, turn your employees into your best brand evangelists first. Here’s how.
Educate Your Staff First
Your top priority: Get your entire team on the same page.
To make sure everyone understands your brand and reflects your brand’s value to your customers, you need to educate everyone on your team.
Think through the following four elements of brand success, and make sure this information is accessible to everyone:
1. Your brand’s core values, including mission and vision
2. The internal culture you want to encourage
3. Your unique brand values and differentiators
4. What the brand values mean to your leadership team
Putting this information in a central location, like a company intranet is a start (but we all know that is where important company information goes to die). It’s much better if this information is always accessible, always at their fingertips. If you create a brand story that encapsulates all four elements, it’ll quickly become a part of your employees’ professional DNA.
Create a brand story that is not only powerful, but easily repeatable and emotionally gripping, and current employees will feel more connected with your brand while new employees will be infinitely easier to train. Zappos is a great example of a company that does this brilliantly.
Reinforce the Brand Regularly
It’s not practical to expect leadership to be face-to-face with employees on the floor every day. Your staff needs to be immersed in your brand without the constant attention of the leadership team.
This is where company culture comes into play in a big way. It does take some initial effort for leadership to align their vision of the brand with the culture they want to encourage in the workplace – but once that alignment is in place, reinforcement can come from well crafted internal communications.
Internal communications is an area where many companies fail miserably – and their brand pays the price. Make sure what you’re communicating to the public is the same thing you’re communicating to employees so there is no disconnect. If you’re advertising a customer-first focus, don’t tell your employees that their first priority is reducing costs.
An easy way to reinforce the brand while also making employees feel more connected with leadership is a daily inspirational message from the CEO. This can be a simple 30-second video or a quick email, but the purpose is to share what leadership is working on and inspire employees to do their part.
Get in Front of Your Employees’ Eyeballs
Here’s something many companies don’t think about. Especially companies with mobile employees.
Where are your employees’ eyeballs?
Are your employees in front of their computers all day? Or are they on the road with their smartphones?
Take into consideration how your employees consume content when you’re creating your internal marketing plan. Make sure that wherever they are spending their time, your branded content is available and optimised.
How Your Employees Go, Your Brand Goes
Educate. Reinforce. Optimise. These are the three steps to marketing your brand from the inside out.
Getting your employees all on the same page isn’t just smart. It’s critical to the success of your brand in the marketplace. Your staff are often the first touchpoint your customers have with your brand. Make sure that touchpoint moves your customers down the buying path toward becoming loyal brand advocates themselves.
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