Why does a company need to be concerned about branding inside the organization? After all, isn’t branding supposed to be about how prospects and customers view your business?
Consider this. Won’t your customers have a better experience with your brand (aka your business) if your employees treat the customers exactly how you want, can accurately answer all customer questions and quickly resolve problems, and communicate how important each and every customer is to you? Of course they will!
So, what is internal branding? It is a strategy that establishes and strengthens your competitive positioning from within. Your internal branding objectives are to connect employees, board members (and volunteers if you are a nonprofit) to your brand; cultivate a passionate, highly engaged workforce; create a seamless, differentiated experience for your target audiences; and maintain your edge in the market (at a minimum) or surpass your competition (if you can).
Internal branding can yield dramatic results. When employees respond in ways that your target audiences expect, they reward you with business. Also, consistent, professional behavior is perceived as competence, particularly when there’s an expectation about a level of technical expertise. Haven’t you ever had an interaction with a business (electronics store, a bank, a billing department, health insurance company, navigating and completing an on-line transaction through a web-only business), and found yourself thinking “They obviously don’t know what they’re doing”? If you want repeat business, you better be sure that you can deliver on consistency.
Last, and certainly not least, information remains one of a company’s most valuable assets (after its employees) for achieving a competitive edge. Information comes from many sources and in many forms — formalized market research, comments from customers, and feedback from employees (what’s working, what’s not, how can we do it better). Once you have the information, then you have to evaluate it to decide what it means (identification of trends, problems, and opportunities). The more you inform your employees, the more your employees know how they can help your customers, prospects, and business partners. That’s how you generate repeat business and great referrals. It’s your direct line from the inside out.