Marketing Executive, Beth Jeremy, takes a look at the reasons for strong internal communication and brand reinforcement to help the marketing effort of your organisation.
If your company has a limited marketing resource, there’s often a temptation to focus all your efforts into letting customers know who you are and what you’re offering. After all, who has money to waste on signs around the office, customised desktop branding and promoting your organisation to the people who already work for you? Well, all of this is part and parcel of your internal communication strategy and is integral to your external marketing planning.
So, what is internal communication?
In a marketing context, internal communication is all about how you reinforce your brand internally within your business or organisation. In order to get your team to be “on-brand”, they first have to be exposed to your brand whenever they are in a work setting.
In a basic sense this includes saturating your workplace with brand recognition – your logo on all internal memoranda, on-brand signage up around the office, pre-programming your company website to be the browser homepage on office computers, and so on. Some companies go to even greater lengths in ensuring that their workplace is on-brand by incorporating their brand into the design of their offices. Take Zoopla for example: this UK-based online property agency has a “house-themed” head office with every room designed to feel like a part of the home, from studies to kitchens, living rooms and gardens. And this isn’t just a quirky gimmick for any visitors to enjoy – if it were, it would be a very expensive gimmick! The careful planning and design of their office continually reinforces to all their staff the home-centred ethos of their company.
Surely there's more to it than a few logos?
Well this is where internal communication goes a level deeper. It’s not just about making sure that your employees see your company’s logo or screen shots of your products every time they glance up from their desk. At the core of internal communication as a marketing strategy is a desire to make sure that your whole team, from casual labourers to senior directors and everybody in between, understands you brand, your core values, and believes in your product or service. You need to make sure that if they were the one making the decision to purchase your products, they would choose you hands down over the competition.
How do you communicate your brand to your staff?
Well, it’s true what they say: seeing is believing. It’s never enough to just be told something and accept it as true. Amazon can be a notoriously difficult employer, so their internal signage like this is all well and good … but to make any difference it must be backed up by real results. It’s not enough to tell your employees to have fun. Make them have fun. If you want them to believe that they are working for a great team, be a great team. It may sound trite, but more often than not a happy team is a productive team and will be more than willing to get behind your brand. And as well as the obvious benefits of staff retention and increased productivity, this can have a huge impact on your marketing.
Why, then, would I want to get my team on board with my brand?
Internal communication is key to conveying your brand to your team, be it large or small, and if your team are on board with your brand then they can become brand ambassadors. You see, Joe who works in sales is also part of a pub quiz team on a Tuesday night with six other working professionals. Deborah from accounts is part of a fifty-strong local running club that meets twice a week. Every single member of your team has a life outside of their job, where they know people and are constantly communicating. A recent study showed that the average Facebook user has 338 friends for instance. And there’s nothing quite as effective as a personal recommendation for selling to potential customers.
What if your sales model is B2B?
Brand ambassadors are still one of the most effective weapons in your arsenal. Every time a member of your team communicates with someone outside of your organisation, you want them to be championing your brand, whether it’s at a trade show, on a sales call, chasing up an overdue invoice or having a chat with an acquaintance on the morning train. You never know which conversation might make a lasting impression with the right decision maker, so it’s important to make sure that your team not only know your brand but are fully behind it.
So, what to do going forward?
The first step in any marketing is to assess the current situation (i.e. what are you already doing in this area) and decide what your desired outcome would be within your means, be those time or monetary constraints. Then have a think about deploying a few of the following techniques to enhance your internal brand communication:
- Staff training – is your team even really aware of what it is that you do, or why you do it? Do they know what makes you special, and when did you last remind them of their value to the overall effort of the organisation?
- Staff branding – is it only your customer-facing staff that gets a branded polo shirt? Who has a company business card? Do all staff have a company e-mail signature? These simple measures can make a big difference.
- Office design – does anything about your working environment remind your team of who they work for? Even if you are in rented office space, something as simple as a desktop image on laptops and iPads, or a customised skin on your softphone can reinforce your brand to your employees.
- Team input – do you involve your team in marketing efforts such as “meet the team” sections in your monthly newsletter or social media presence?
These simple measures can make an enormous impact on how your staff represent your brand when they are communicating your message. If you’d like to find out more, feel free to get in touch with the team here at CloudyCreative – we’d love to hear from you.