When speaking of marketing, many of us tend to think of external marketing, trying to find ways to keep existing consumers and to gain new ones.
These are important obstacles that must be overcome. However, we tend to miss out on the first group of people companies need to reach – their employees.
Any employer or marketer must ask himself the following question, “Do I have a team that embodies the company’s brand?”
Internal marketing it must be a part of any company’s strategy. Having employees who internalize and live out the brand and its values will help them exceed customers’ expectations, which, in turn, will make those customers loyal believers in your brand.
(This is important this Christmas season, as you’ll want shoppers to return to you next year).
Customers will decide whether or not to patronize a company based on their experience with that company’s employees, be they in-person sales representative in a store, or on the phone with tech support, and not only on the product or service purchased.
Think of sports teams; each player is an employee and that player embodies the shirt he wears and the traditions of the team. They own the brand, internalizing it. Employees must also do this. (Human Resources can be a great resource for this, besides the company’s owner and management).
Your employees need to understand the why of the brand, the core values of your brand and your company, which is reflected in the brand and its essence. Doing this, employees will no longer feel that they are working for just another company; they will feel that they are part of something larger than themselves and will want to represent that to the outside world.
In short, this has a great deal to with the company culture.
Survey your employees to get a sense of how they view the company. Questions such as What do you believe we do?, How do you see your role in the company?, What do we stand for? will deliver good responses. This will help you establish your brand. If they are vastly different from each other, and from what you as the boss believes about the brand, then internal branding must be done.
Even if there’s not much difference, you should still perform internal branding. Why? Because any slight difference means that the brand’s core values are not properly understood. When all employees are on the same page about the brand’s core values, this will help them perform their jobs at a higher level, and help consumers understand the brand more efficiently.
Perform internal marketing first. Help your employees own the brand and the watch how your external marketing will succeed.