Yesterday’s firing of White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, serves as a strong lesson for organizations. How your team/s get along affect your brand.
Bad-mouthing colleagues, using profanity when representing a brand, and being an overall jerk can erode a brand as fast as Scaramucci’s length of employment. A toxic internal culture can cause long-term damage to any organization.
What’s internal branding?
Here's my definition:
Internal branding is when an organization weaves its brand promise, values, and personality throughout its culture and processes. Employees are expected to “live the brand” internally as they do with external audiences.
According to a 2016 study, “Relationship between Internal Branding, Employee Brand and Brand Endorsement” published in the International Journal of Business and Management, “Brand image and reputation are the keys to success in any business. They are significantly influenced by the nature of interactions of the employees of the service organizations with customers.”
When the behavior of the employee is aligned with the brand values, promise and image, the quality of relationship that a customer has with the brand strengthens.”
What internal branding can achieve
- It educates employees on the overall brand and the role they play in delivering it to each other as well as to external customers.
- It helps employees bond with the brand to increase commitment.
- It influences employees’ positive word-of-mouth communication.
- It contributes to customers’ positive perceptions of the brand image and reputation.
- It has a positive impact on employees’ brand performance, attitude and behaviors.
- It helps foster consistency in organizations’ management ideas, actions, and methods.
- It helps engage employees with the organization’s core values, vision, and mission.
- It contributes to a healthier work environment.
In a recent post for Bader Rutter’s blog, senior strategist, Rodger Jones writes:
An organization’s internal brand-building ability is dependent upon the right combination of marketing, human resources, organizational culture and measurement.”
From Jones’ post, I’ve extrapolated and expounded on:
10 ways that leaders can achieve a positive internal brand:
- Focus on delivering above-and-beyond service.
- Adopt internally oriented branding and service quality initiatives to develop employees as passionate brand advocates.
- Focus on engaging employees to help them learn, know, understand and support the brand so they can share in the organization’s vision.
- Supply the necessary guiding principles, tools and resources to help employees internalize what the brand is and what it stands for.
- Incorporate the brand from the very top to the bottom and weave it throughout the entire organization to deliver quality customer experiences.
- Ensure the marketer’s role is to link organizational vision, mission, identity, objectives, strategies, training, work style, and employee interactions to build a successful internal brand and ensure that is on the same page.
- Leaders and managers must lead by example and empower employees to take risks and exchange ideas to encourage and inspire behavioral change.
- Invest in people’s needs so they feel empowered, appreciated, full of energy and inspired to invest themselves in their work. (I adore this one as it encapsulates my philosophy perfectly.)
- Enlist the help of brand ambassadors — highly engaged and influential employees — to activate the brand internally to bring others on board.
- Encourage employees and their managers to share their accomplishments and demonstrate how they have a direct impact on the organization.
Certainly, you won't achieve internal branding success if your team is at each other's throats. Cohesion and teamwork are the keys to success.