We spend days and sometimes even weeks or months developing our "marketing message." We examine and experiment with taglines and logos. It's not unusual for us to spend hours of overtime determining our company colors before we set out to launch. There is, however, an area that's almost always forgotten in the planning phase of a new company or the restructuring of an old one. That area involves training staff to understand and to reflect our message and brand.
Begin Internal Branding With Your Staff
Marketing starts from the inside out. Do your employees believe in your product and the services you offer? Are they standing 100 percent behind you in the mission of your brand? Are they living your brand? It's important that your employees are informed and involved in the new initiatives and strategies that are taking place within your company. It can have detrimental and even serious results if your staff is unable or unwilling to support your marketing efforts.
Synchronize Your Brand Personality, Values, and Corporate Culture
So how can you begin your internal branding campaign within your company? Your marketing team should be working closely with your human resources team to ensure that the common values of your company are in sync both internally and externally. It's not just how your staff approaches your target market, but how they work with each other.
Get Your Employees Behind Your Brand
Align your criteria for recruiting and rewarding employees with the criteria of the brand value. Look for the right skills and aptitudes that will represent your brand promise effectively. And don't overlook the value of "freebies." Make them believers. Treat your employees to a personal taste of the product or service you're selling so they develop a firsthand affinity with it. When people believe in a product or service, they become more enthusiastic about selling it.
Reinforce Brand Values and Behaviors
Use your internal communication to reinforce and explain the values and behaviors that reflect your brand promise. Continuously do this until they become second nature, but tread a fine line. You don't want your employees to roll their eyes and tune you out when they hear "the speech" coming. Change it up a little or transform it into a gesture instead, such as a thumbs-up. They'll get your point. Use it under different circumstances, but don't trot it out in front of clients or customers. You'll reach them in other ways.
The End Result
If you thought the process of involving your staff was not important to take into account, consider that your employees meet, greet and assist your customers in many different ways and according to their styles and personalities all the time. They are the face of your brand. Engage your staff right from the start and encourage individual input.
Use your staff as a focus group—after all, who knows your clientele better than they do? By doing this, you'll not only get support from your staff, but you might even gain some insight and ideas that you otherwise may not have considered. Your employees can be one of your greatest assets, so tap into them. Don't overlook them.