In our previous posts, we got a friendly (but firm) warning on why it’s important to link your internal and external brands, and got some artistically inspired recommendations on how to bring them to life. That’s all well and good, but you may now wonder:
- What about some practical methods I can apply today to link my internal and external brands?
- How can I increase my employees’ emotional connection, engagement, morale, and productivity by leveraging my brand?
- How can I maximize the ways my employees are actively involved in my brand and understand what it means to them?
- What can I do to create powerful brand ambassadors who want to spread the good word?
Well, I’m glad you asked! Let’s take a look.
11 Ways to Link Your Internal and External Brands
- Identity and Design: We’re talking about your logo, wordmark, colors, font, taglines, historical assets, and all other graphic elements that are your brand’s design building blocks. Be sure to dovetail them into all employee communications efforts to maintain brand consistency and your brand identity.
- Social Media: The great thing about social media is it can be used both internally and externally to promote your brand. Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) like Yammer, are a superb way for employees to collaborate, share, and help each other, and perpetuate and strengthen your brand internally. Progressive companies like Deloitte offer their followers transparency through their @lifeatdeloitte Twitter account.
- Video: It can be as expressive, vibrant, and creative internally as externally. Great tip for your internal brand: Get your employees involved in the fun! Need proof? Check out this great Overstock.com holiday commercial featuring their employees.
- Events: Get up from that desk! Bring your employees together outside of the office. Whether it’s small (like a weekly happy hour or bowling trip), big (your annual holiday party), or in-between (weekend wine country getaway), create opportunities for your employees to connect and build relationships outside of the workplace.
- Mobile: Many of our favorite brands have wildly successful customer-facing apps (Starbucks). But, there’s also opportunity with new internal players like theCOMMSapp’s theEMPLOYEEapp to keep your employees engaged and informed.
- Leadership Communications: Ideally, linking your brands should come from the top: Your leadership. This ensures that all activities, departments and messages are in sync; creating a unified brand message. It’s no easy task, but it is vital. Stay tuned for future blog posts for some tips to help you along your way.
- Culture and Values: Your rich brand culture and values should be the same inside and out. Bring your employees into the fold, and create excited brand ambassadors. For inspiration, Zappos.com and Whole Foods Market do great jobs.
- Customer Service: According to Gallup’s “State of the Global Workforce 2013,” engaged employees can have a 2x impact on customer loyalty. Be sure you have open channels for two-way feedback, leverage all communications channels, and measure what’s most important to your customer experience.
- Gamification: This is a big 2014 trend in employee communications. Who doesn’t love games, right? Your employees do, too! Gamification can make employees feel good, increase socialization, facilitate feedback, and make things more fun!
- Training and Education: Investing in continuous learning will be big in 2014. Educate your employees on your brand’s history, mission, values, milestones, and key initiatives. Every engaged employee should be able to clearly explain your brand and what it means to them.
- The Other Stuff: This is where you can really have some fun. Companies offer a cornucopia of employee perks, including: free healthcare, rock climbing walls, Montessori child care, art shows, and weekly car washes. Find out what excites your employees!
It’s Up to Leadership to Make it Happen
The link between your internal and external brand should be a strong and vibrant one. Sure, your employees are key players in making it happen, but the vision and commitment need to happen at the top. Get the C-Suite, leadership and management on board (staring with you). Then, make it happen with everyone else. In the end, you’ll find you’ve got a strong, healthy brand both inside and out.
Got any great ways you link your internal and external brand? We’d love to hear!
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