The 10 key elements in internal branding

 

Companies are going through profound transformation and reinvention processes. Although many brands are disappearing, others are being born out of mergers, integrations, reorganisations. We are witnessing radical market changes, customers are becoming more demanding, competition is getting fiercer, salaries are decreasing, there are dismissals, outsourcings. Changes are painful: people suffer with them; they test our identity and our attitudes. Uncertain, confusing and unstable contexts are multiplied, and they are often combined with relational dynamics that generate unhappiness.

In an uncertain world, brands must shine like a lighthouse. They symbolise the vision, values, and personality of companies. They anchor us to the central meanings that give sense and direction to our everyday work.

That is why brands must help to:

. Overcome scepticism, distrust, resignation, insecurity, arrogance, anxiety.

. Create spaces for conversation, expression, and participation; generate hope in a new project.

. Work with people as individuals and also as a group; establish a meeting point where a consensus can be reached.

Internalising the brand's vision, values, and personality is basic –for, if the individuals of the organisation don't believe in it, who will?

But, how to diagnose the internal health of our brand? What do we have to focus on? Here are ten key elements to keep an eye on:

 

1. INTERNAL COMMUNICATION. 

This is a preliminary requisite. There can't be a commitment to the brand if we haven't been able to communicate internally what we want to associate with our name. We need to open up spaces for permanent communication and conversation with our colleagues, in a transparent manner and with an adequate level of response.

2. THE MEANING OF THE TASK. 

Nothing creates more commitment to the brand than feeling that one's daily job, as small and insignificant as one may perceive it to be, makes sense within the global scheme. It's not the same to lay down a stone to build a cathedral than to remain ignorant of what one's laying the stone for.

3. SHARED VALUES. 

Feeling that one is in the right place, because the values encapsulated by the brand are also our own values, is probably the most crucial element. Brands with an advanced management will bear this in mind when it comes to recruiting new people for the company. Shared values can also be the invisible mortar that make us all feel part of the same boat.

4. GROUP MEMBERSHIP. 

This is a side-effect, and a very desirable one, for companies that manage their brands well. When the pride of membership is a synonym for personal pride, the commitment to the brand will be high.

5. CARING FOR AESTHETICS. 

We are visual creatures, and a careful visual style in our workspace, one that is coherent with the brand's design, notably increases the level of commitment. It's difficult to identify with a company that doesn't take care of its internal aesthetics.

6. COHERENT EXPERIENCE. 

The brand experience is built with all the contact points that a company establishes with its target audiences. It is the sum of everything. Insofar as there is coherence across all the channels that the company uses to transmit its message, the level of commitment will be higher. For instance, it becomes difficult to internalise simplicity as a company value if one's job is very complicated.

7. RESPECT AND EMPATHY. 

The acknowledgement of one's successes and one's own individuality, vital context and personal circumstances; seeing that the company respects one and is capable of empathising with one, will mean the appropriate reciprocity and extra effort when it's needed.

8. EXEMPLARY LEADERSHIP. 

The brand's primary protector is the top manager of the company. If she/he is up to the task, this spirit will be transmitted to the rest of the organisation. And it's difficult to believe a manager that publicly states that the brand is the company's main asset but then doesn't prove it in her daily decisions.

9. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. 

Another powerful incentive for the commitment to the brand is achieving personal growth. Personal development is a powerful human motivator. When employees learn new skills and abilities, this not only helps the brand grow, it also makes employees feel more useful, happy, and accomplished.

10. CONSISTENT INTEGRITY. 

Integrity is related to straightness in one's daily tasks, as well as fulfillment of promises. It is a word that has been used so much that it has lost its initial strength, but it may be considered as the value par excellence. If an employee verifies that the company is consistently honest in everything it says, does, or shows, then she/he too will be honest, and a bigger level of identification with the brand will be acquired. 

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