Creating on-brand culture

Helping employees embrace your brand identity

You’ve done the hard work of defining your new brand or refreshing a brand that has gone stale. The world is looking up and your customers are embracing the new approach and attitude. And yet something’s still not quite right. The work is getting done, but the vibe lingering in conference rooms and throughout the halls of your company doesn’t fully align with the way you talk about your brand externally. How can this be? 

In our experience with launching or refreshing brands, in the excitement to share the brand with target audiences, a key audience gets overlooked – your internal stakeholders. Are you obvious and up front with them about how the core tenets of the brand translate into every day work? Are you intentionally using brand language in your team meetings and company-wide communications? 

The basics of marketing – concisely sharing your brand values to the right people, as often as possible – are just as important in your internal communications as they are your external advertising.

Clarity of message

Very often we see key leaders in organizations become so immersed in the brand tenets or values that they assume everyone else is too. They forget that not every member of the organization has lived and breathed the branding research, development and execution for the last six months. It’s critical to make sure you’re talking internally about the company brand in as basic and clear terms as you possibly can. Talk about your brand as if it’s the first time an employee has encountered it. Most importantly, remember to position those values in a tangible or actionable way. For example, if your brand centers on innovation, don’t just tell your employees they’re expected to innovate. Empower them to make time and space in their schedule to bake new ideas. And give them parameters within which to innovate so the effort is relevant to your business. 

Reach

Ultimately, you want everyone in your company to embrace your brand and then bring it to life in their work and in their interactions with each other and customers. This fosters consistency across the organization leading to more cohesive teams. For small organizations, reaching every employee can happen more quickly and through a series of strategic meetings or team building exercises. For larger organizations it can take more time and require assigning brand ambassadors at multiple levels working consistently to encourage brand awareness and acceptance. Either way, commit the time necessary to reach every employee.

Frequency

For your employees to fully embrace the brand identity and demonstrate it in their work, you need to continually reinforce it. One staff meeting or one email from the CEO simply won’t cut it. Think of it as a year-long endeavor. When you sit down to plan your annual media buy and tradeshow schedule, you should also be mapping out how and where you’ll demonstrate the brand internally throughout the entire year. Every meeting, newsletter, social function is an opportunity to champion the brand. Why so often? For new employees it may be the first time they are exposed to the brand. For others it may simply take time for the message to set in and truly resonate.