What is a Brand?
Brand is an identification of a company and its products. It can be in the form of logo, symbol, color or just a name. This identification helps distinguish itself among its competitors.
Creation of brand is not just creating a logo or byline statement or a symbol. It is the creation of experience, which would make the customer, want more and more of it. An experience, which can create strong positive emotions, something that can lead the customer to trust and become loyal to it. First thing that qualifies a company or product to be a brand is the ability to create emotions. Brand has to be associated or should trigger emotions.
Logos, colors, symbols, statements, advertisements and promotions are the main tools for the communication of a brand. Now coming to the main point of the article -Unleashing the power of brand internally & unveil a new power, ie Internal Branding or promoting the brand internally among employees so that they are aware of the capabilities of the company and are proud to be working for it. With the help of internal branding, a new source of powering the brand comes to force. All employees are people who connect with the outside environment after office hours. All positive vibes sent out by employees to their friends, neighbors, relatives, etc creates a compounding effect on the image of the company.
The pride the employee shows to be working for an organization itself speaks volumes about the company. The manner in which employee behaves itself ports or communicates something about the image of the company. It can be either positive or negative. So how do we go about the internal branding? How do we harness this hidden power?
To be able to harness this power, there needs to be a synergy between the organization and the employee, a bonding, or you can say an environment in which the individual can thrive and bring out his best for the company. Every organization has a different culture and every individual a different temperament, this should match. I hope I have made the point now. So lets move ahead
The whole process starts with recruiting, recruiting people who can gel in with the organization. Any Employee joining the organization or selected to join the organization needs to be evaluated in terms of his personal characteristics.
What about existing employees ??
In case of existing employees they need to be conditioned to have or exhibit certain characteristics as deemed fit. All this is possible only with the motivation of the individual and Focus.
In a company the employees are the first customers of the brand and the brand should be able to fulfill their promises. Brand is also the outcome of all the company employees' efforts; so they need to give in their best to the brand.
Who is responsible for Internal Branding?
Internal Branding is the responsibility of the Top management / Leadership or the Brand Manager in charge of the particular brand. Alternately the best solution is to have a team of Marketing, Admin and Finance guy to form an internal branding team.
Some tactics to internalize the brand:
1. Brand the atmosphere
The workplace atmosphere affects the way the person works. Put on the posters of the brand and its promise or attribute visible to everyone. The brand promise visibility in the office should be exceptional.
For eg: Put up a notice board and highlight every day some news about the brand progress or send an email to everyone on the update or the progress made by the brand or by the executive working on the product. (I do not mean a formal email stating simple fact what has been done, an email, which evokes passion, smile and motivate.
2. Team Involvement:
Ask for suggestion, start in a forum where ideas can be discussed openly without the fear / hesitation of organization hierarchy, but make it clear who the decision maker is. Keep everyone informed. Keep the buzz on do not ever give the guys time to slack down. Keep them charged, keep them interested
3. Responsibility, Credit & Incentive:
Give out Responsibility and authority to carry it out and give credit where it's due.
There is nothing like incentives, which can really motivate people along with appreciation. Give out a "Champs of the month" in various functions for the brand like marketing, admin, customer service, sales, merchandising, etc.
4. Brand Training
You may have heard of product training, but brand training is different and unique. Educate, Reinforce and inculcate the attributes that really make the brand stand out amongst the other competitor in the employees.
If necessary, Spoon-feed the staff on the behavior that compliments the brands, especially the staff that will come in contact with the outside world.
In simple terms each of your employee has to be a brand ambassador. Let everyone hear the facts and things that need to be projected for the brand.
5. Brand Culture Development
Create & promote the culture of the brand in your organization, as most of the brand guru has said LIVE THE BRAND. Develop the culture in your organization that reflects the brand nature.
Once done, you might have single brand but 100 to 200-brand ambassadors (depending on the number of employees) projecting your brand everyday to the world. If I summarize, Internal Branding can create salesman out of every employee and who ever comes in contact with your employee will be influenced by the brand.