No, I am not talking about ‘Employer Branding’ or ‘Internal Marketing’; not even how to brand a company or a product for the employees. Nor am I promoting the idea of an internal customer who has to ‘buy’ into the company’s philosophy. I am talking about informing, inspiring, and involving employees so that they understand, support, and advance the brand.
Most vision statements (refer to the About Us section of any company’s website) are full of jargon and the language of management consultants. Most ordinary people, including employees of the company, do not understand what they mean. If the vision is not understood, it is implausible that the mission statement will mean anything to anyone.
In most cases, brands do not have a story or articulate a story. Employees make up their own brand stories according to whatever they understand of their own company. This confusion usually gets amplified to the customers. The result is that customers do not understand and thus do not care about a company’s positioning. This makes the company yet another commodity in the market, despite its impressive logo. The impact is on the bottom line. Such companies have to work harder for sales, give discounts, and hire expensive brand ambassadors.
Brands need to articulate a straightforward brand story, relatable vision statement, and relevant mission objective. Only when employees understand the brand will they think and act in specific ways to produce the results the company is seeking. Employees must internalize the organization’s purpose and values to make decisions that support those priorities. Ultimately they design and deliver on-brand customer experiences that strengthen the brand’s competitive position and build equity in the brand.
Brand understanding has three dimensions for employees:
Emotional commitment: A simple brand story that they can share with their family and friends with ease, without getting into business jargon.
Understanding the brand strategy: That means who the brand’s target customers are, how the brand is positioned relative to competitors, and what makes the brand unique and valuable from a customer perspective.
Day-to-day involvement with the brand: Even those employees who don’t have direct customer contact understand and embrace their role in delivering on-brand customer experiences.