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Is your brand strong on the inside as well as on the outside?

strong-brand

This post is by Julian Barrans, Business Director, Asia for TrinityP3. Julian has worked as a business, marketing and branding professional for over 30 years, with more than half of that time in the APAC region, working both client side and agency side.

So you’ve developed and established the brand’s positioning that delivers differentiation versus competitors and resonates effectively with the target market.

‘Job done’ you might say, now you just need to keep the brand fresh and relevant as time goes by to ensure market growth, but are you missing something?

Yes, your brand is looking great outside of the organisation, but is it playing a role within it?

This is where a fantastic opportunity lies.

Can you imagine the benefits the brand and the organisation will get if everyone in it is playing the same tune, rather than focusing on individual, divisional agendas? You can imagine the unpleasant noise the latter results in and that’s what anyone inside and outside the organisation will experience…discord.

The organisation feels and is…. disjointed, confused and not as lean and mean a fighting machine in it’s category as it could be. It’s not unusual to see such organisations have a multiple of logos, taglines, with identities that have a different look and feel…both external and internal. A complete mess and confusing for all.

You also have to keep reminding everyone in the greater brand team what the brand stands for and is looking to achieve with its product innovations agenda, commercial and sales strategies, etc.

With the brand front and centre of the organisation looking to deliver the growth and profitability needed, you avoid the inefficiency and confusion of the above scenario.

Using the power of your brand internally employee productivity gains can be 20%, or higher, as efforts are better focused and more passionately engaged in, with stronger morale throughout the organisation. You ensure each employee understands how their role aligns with and delivers in line with the brand proposition and values.

The brand is being used to drive the culture of the organisation….one culture, not many as can often be the case! This is especially important when you consider the different stakeholders that the organisation needs to engage with both internally and externally.

Most brands focus on the consumer and most organisations focus internally from a culture perspective. Yet when you consider the different stakeholders you can appreciate the benefit of rallying behind the brand. These vary by business/organisation type to some extent but in broad terms you have stakeholders such as employees, board of directors, investors/owners, financial institutions, government bodies, relevant professional associations and of course consumers, customers, future employees and key influencers. A lot to consider, but we’re going to focus on internal stakeholders here.

So how do you go about building your brand on the inside?

Clearly this is not something that marketing can achieve on its own…support from the management team and especially the CEO is absolutely necessary otherwise you will face failure, beyond some soon to be forgotten brand materials, posters etc that were produced. You have to plan how this will stick within the organisation and become the glue that holds everything together.

I recall a discussion with the CEO of a bank in Thailand, where having gone through a complete rebranding to recognise its repostioning in the market, he exclaimed that he wasn’t seeing the change in attitude he wanted to see within the business. All the focus had been external which presented the bank brand very well to external stakeholders. I explained that if he left it like this the momentum would fizzle out, unless he got everyone within the organisation to live the new brand and it’s values. He wisely chose the latter.

You need to clearly lay out your plan to have the brand proposition and values understood not only across the business but from top to bottom. Everyone in the organisation needs to know their role and place in delivering this and have their job description and KPI’s that relate to it as well. This is how you’ll drive stronger teamwork because everyone will appreciate that they are clearly working towards the same group objective delivering in their own unique defined, measured and rewarded way.

Also, you need a budget….this is not a marketing budget spend item, but one that needs its own budget with various divisions needing varying levels of support and incurring costs that need to weighed and understood to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in achieving the internal branding result desired.

The HR division needs to be focused on this and will be essential members of the internal team. HR should be diverted from the no doubt numerous other individual and un-linked programmes that are in play to do with encouraging efficiency, innovation, teamwork, cost saving drives, etc. All can be effectively pulled together under the brand and if they don’t fit then maybe it demonstrates that such a programme should not be a priority.

At the practical level you’ll need to run training workshops with representatives from up and down the organisation as well as across it, to allow them to get to grips with the brand as well as make it relatable to different functions and levels.

These individuals form an absolutely critical part of the brand internalising process. They will be trained and equipped with tools to explain the brand to their colleagues. It is essential that their efforts are recognised as part of their KPI’s, or KRA’s and achievements openly celebrated by their managers and C-suite. It is also critical that they regularly get together so that they don’t feel they are a lone knight, battling away in isolation. This addition to their role needs to be seen as a ‘badge of pride’ and not a poisoned chalice

A final few thoughts…..

Hopefully the above has given you some insights into the opportunity for using the brand to drive the organisation internally, as well as externally. I also hope you get a flavour for some of the considerations needed to achieve that…it’s not meant to be exhaustive but to give enough of an indication for how you might approach this.

Importantly you need to tailor the approach to your organisation and its appetite….don’t bit of more that you can chew …or give the organisation indigestion, as your efforts will not become the glue you desire.

If you are a multi brand organisation don’t dismay, as by using the organisation’s vision, mission and values you can drive the appropriate culture, teamwork, efficiencies and effectiveness to deliver growth and profitability targets as all brand efforts will be better focused.

Define key stakeholders and measure, manage and maximise internal collaboration, alignment and engagement to deliver success. Find out more here

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Julian has worked as a business, marketing and branding professional for over 30 years, with more than half of that time in the APAC region, working both client side and agency side. A creative business leader who truly understands the importance of team building, working with the right partners as well as making decisions based on sound business strategy and practices.

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