Internal Branding Strategy used to be the last item on the Marketing Agenda and the first item to have the budget cut! Well, luckily for us times have changed and organizations are now recognizing the importance of Branding. Hey, but wait a minute, doesn’t all that “Apple” and “Google” style brand awareness cost millions? Sure, but look at the results…..you either need to be known and recognized in your market or else you are just “one of the many”. Scan through the Brandirectory Global 500 Top Brands for 2012 for a reality check if you still need convincing about the importance of Branding!
Ok I Get It – What Next? What Exactly is an Internal Branding Strategy
I think that I am not alone when I say that I often get confused between having a Brand, and having an Internal Brand Strategy. For me the two go hand in hand but are completely different if that makes sense! To be successful in today’s harsh business environment it is not enough to have great products and a terrific team. You need to be recognized, which means that your whole organization needs a focus. That focus is your Brand and the Brand Promise. How successfully those messages are communicated to your customers is down to your Internal Branding Strategy.
Now I am Getting Confused!
Internal Branding is basically about making sure that everybody in your Team understands the Brand Promise and communicates it effectively to the customers. Having a defined strategy makes sure that the messaging is consistent, no matter who the customer is in contact with. Go back to that Brandirectory Top 500 list for a minute. I bet that next to each name you can jot down the key product and and which market they serve. What you are aiming for is to achieve exactly the same result but in your own local area rather than on a global scale…well, now anyway!
So How do I Create an Internal Branding Strategy?
Well, first you need a Brand Strategy and a Brand Promise to define your corporate image, culture and personality. From this you can develop a strategy for how you want your Team to communicate and interface with your customers. For example, if you run a Traditional Law Firm then maybe you always want your Team to Address the customers formally as Mr Smith or Mrs Jones to re-enforce the traditional values and instil trust….if you are running a PR outfit then maybe you want keep everything on first name terms from the outset.
So It’s Not So Complicated?
If you know your business and know your customers then creating an Internal Branding Strategy is not too complicated, but it does take time and does need attention to detail. I think I can hear you saying something about your organization being pretty small so do I need all this? It doesn’t matter if you are a Solopreneur or a business with a team of 100, the task is basically the same. The objective is to leverage your Internal Branding Strategy in order to create a competitive advantage. Put simply that means customers will come to you because you are known and trusted in your market. Your Team ensures this by consistently behaving and communicating in line with your strategy. This focus is your key to success.
But I need to Please All My Customers!
The Customer is King, and always will be in a successful business. However, if you get distracted from your core values and strategy by trying to please everybody all of the time…and be everything to everyone…then for sure you will be busy – but mostly running around in circles rather than busy counting the profits!