This free article about internal branding by Derek Stockley identifies the growing importance of internal branding. The relationship to successful change programs promoting a positive culture and climate for organisations is also explained.
Outside my local supermarket, the 'kiddies ride' has recently been changed. It used to be an elephant and more recently it was a fire truck. Children have always enjoyed such rides and I have always seen them as a good value treat and relatively harmless for children.
I wonder how many of the current generation of children, and/or their parents and grandparents, realise the intent of the latest ride.
The fire truck has been replaced by a supermarket home delivery van, complete with corporate logo! The children are now 'delivering' your groceries direct to your door.
The use of the ride shows how large corporations use every opportunity to build their brand. Good branding requires constant reinforcement of the existence and unique offering provided.
How important is branding?
The next time you go shopping, look at what process you go through to pick a particular product. Do you think or say out aloud, or does your partner say: "that’s a good brand".
I define brand in this way:
For a product, service or company, brand is the image portrayed and accepted in the market place - it is a combination of the identity achieved, the recognition gained and how people react physically and emotionally to what the product, service or company represents.
The brand informs prospective customers and customers of your value proposition and distinguishes you from your competitors. The brand should be consistent with what is delivered. It should be unique, memorable and distinctive.
Branding is important in the market place. Those companies with a strong branding focus also realise the importance of internal branding as part of their overall marketing effort.
I define internal branding as:
A conscious and planned process undertaken within the organisation to align staff and business processes with the brand identity and values. It a focused strategy and process that aligns employee understanding and behaviour to the promises and values of the brand.
- Do your employees believe in your product and the services that you offer?
- Do they support the mission and purpose of your branding?
- Are they 'living' your brand through their thoughts, actions and deeds?
It is important that your employees are participating in new brand initiatives and strategies. Staff who are unable or unwilling to support your marketing will negatively affect results.
Internal branding and customer service
Branding is built by advertising and marketing. Most importantly it is built by customer service. The delivery of the goods and services must match the advertising and marketing promise.
Excellent branding is achieved through exceptional customer service. Word of mouth referrals come from memorable experiences. Exceptional service provides the stories that people share with their friends and colleagues.
Internal branding and customer service change programs
If internal branding is "a conscious and planned process undertaken within the organisation to align staff and business processes with the brand identity and values", then customer service training and service reviews will play an important part.
The end result is to align "employee understanding and behaviour to the promises and values of the brand". The business focus should be on delivering exceptional customer service when possible. This takes a concentrated effort by management and staff. It comes more easily and naturally if everyone believes in the company, its products and services.
Internal branding as a concept has grown in recent years. It has been tied with the growing realisation about the importance of branding generally.
Internal branding is one way of looking at organisational culture and climate. Change programs generally, and customer service programs particularly, should consider and include branding as part of the internal change processes. Where branding is crucial to organisation success, it is must.
What is your organisation’s brand?
Do managers and staff constantly say and do things that help build and reinforce the brand?
Exceptional customer service defined - defines and explains exceptional customer service.
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Derek Stockley conducts a variety of public training courses in Australia.
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