When it comes to capturing the hearts and minds of your customers, it makes a lot of sense to focus on the external environment. That’s where your customers are after all. So most marketing messages are placed here.
What’s often overlooked, however, are the benefits of focusing internally. Many businesses fail to see the importance of convincing their current employees of their brand’s power. It’s just seen as a given.
The catch is, if employees aren’t convinced of your branding, they’re likely to fall short of the expectations set by your advertising. [i] They will either disengage from their work tasks or won’t know about the promises you’ve made to the public. This disconnect actually tarnishes customers’ perceptions of your brand and can zap company performance.
It’s not all cloudy skies though. You can avoid this issue through the process of Employee Branding.
What is Employee Branding?
Employee Branding is helping employees internalise your organisation’s desired brand image and motivating them to model this image to customers and other stakeholders. It involves getting employees on board with your vision and creating a powerful emotional connection between them and the products and services you sell. [ii]
Your ultimate goal is to guide employees’ behaviour so they project a favourable image of your brand through their work, in public and through social media. After all, your “employees are walking, talking billboards”. [iii]
Turning employees into brand ambassadors
Most companies are good at communicating internal strategy and direction however the need for employee buy-in is often neglected. When employees are connected to your brand vision, they essentially become powerful brand ambassadors. Without this connection, they can feel disengaged or even become disengaged towards your business.
People trust others more than a faceless company. In fact, marketing messages are 561% more likely to reach customers when coming from your employees. Further, social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and company review websites can send powerful messages about your brand: the good, and the bad. So you want to make sure the message your employees are sending are positive ones.
Employee Branding promotes wellness and productivity
Employee Branding doesn’t just improve your customers’ perception of your brand. When employees believe in your brand it inspires a sense of purpose and identity. A study found that people whose individual purpose aligns with their jobs tend to get more meaning from their roles which in turn makes them more productive and likely to outperform peers. [v]
By figuring out the “why” for your employees and connecting the dots to your brand vision, you’ll motivate them to work harder. [vi] They’re more likely to be loyal to your company. A classic win-win situation.
Our Three Top Tips for Employee Branding:
1. Do your own “Market Research”
Just like you perform market research for an external campaign, the same should be done internally for the best results. You can achieve this through employee feedback (verbal and non-verbal), climate surveys, observing staff interaction with other staff members and focus groups. Allowing employees to express their thoughts will help you tailor your messaging and build a culture that promotes job fulfilment.
2. Choose your timing
It’s human nature to resist change and employees can have little tolerance to this idea at times. This is why internal branding campaigns are most effective at natural turning points in a company, as they can feel more authentic. A fundamental change or challenge is the perfect opportunity for managers to encourage positive attitudes amongst employees by reminding them what makes the company well sought after amongst its competitors. Hint: you can also create your own “turning point” by launching a new marketing strategy.
3. Align internal and external messages
Often companies can tell customers one thing and their employees another. This can lead to confusion and even distrust in your company. A good way to overcome this issue is to create external advertising that targets both internal and external audiences.
We sometimes forget that employees have a remarkable power that can make your brand come alive. Especially so in today’s digital world. As a relatively inexpensive form of marketing, it pays for every business to include Employee Branding as part of their overall marketing strategy. It’s little known that adopting this inside/out approach and harnessing your team’s Why?’ can be the difference that propels your business ahead of your competitors.
To find out how The Epiphany Group can help you with your Employee Branding strategy, contact us here.
[i] Harvard Business Review. 2021. Selling the Brand Inside. [ONLINE] Available at: https://hbr.org/2002/01/selling-the-brand-inside. [Accessed 15 March 2021].
[ii] W. Glynn Mangold, S., 2005. 'Positioning Southwest Airlines through employee branding', Business Horizons, vol. 48, no. 48, pp. 535 — 545.
[iii] Rachel Montañez. 2021. Why Now Is The Time To Invest In Your Employees’ Personal Brands. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelmontanez/2021/01/29/why-now-is-the-time-to-invest-in-your-employees-personal-brand/?sh=71037bf25b83. [Accessed 15 March 2021].
[iv] crowdspring Blog. 2021. 20 Statistics About Branding Every Entrepreneur and Marketer Should Know - crowdspring Blog. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.crowdspring.com/blog/successful-branding-for-entrepreneurs-statistics/. [Accessed 15 March 2021].
[v] McKinsey & Company. 2021. Igniting individual purpose | McKinsey. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/igniting-individual-purpose-in-times-of-crisis. [Accessed 15 March 2021].
[vi] Sinek, S., 2011. Start with why. Portfolio Penguin.