May 17, 2015
Effective use of online branding can separate an industry leader from an organization that never quite fulfills its potential. It’s your way of communicating what you’re all about to your customers and distinguishing your company from the many competitors online. But in the drive to get your core marketing messages out there on your customers’ screens it can be easy to forget that as well as branding externally, you need to do so internally. A truly effective brand strategy uses storytelling at all levels of the organization.
Increasing motivation through internal brand building
A compelling brand story can do many things, in addition to selling products or services. It can motivate customer service staff to go that extra mile, managers to strive to build better teams, and product designers to seek innovation at every turn. At its best, it can unite the entire organization to pursue common goals under a single banner, leading to greater productivity and continued successes.
Take a look at one of the world’s leading technological brands – Apple. This is a company that has always strived to present itself as a bold forward-thinking alternative to its ‘safer’ more conservative competitors. This idea has been encapsulated in its consumer marketing, from its memorable ‘1984’ commercial in which a protagonist smashes a screen displaying totalitarian propaganda, to the ‘Think Different’ campaign, and right up to the present day.
But this story of innovation doesn’t end here. You only have to look at the job title that Apple gives its in-store technical staff – Geniuses – to see the attitude that Apple has to using brand storytelling internally. This idea of ‘geniuses’ working in ‘a genius bar’ has an affect not just on the perception of these employees, but also on their interactions with customers. If someone openly called you a genius, wouldn’t you try extra hard to solve any technical problems presented to you?
However, head to the Apple Campus over the pond and there’s a different story to be told – one of secrecy to protect Apple’s position at the cutting edge of personal technology. There’s a very interesting article over at Business Insider with staff and former staff talking about Apple’s internal culture.
One that sticks out is comments by former interface designer Justin Maxwell, who says that, “the general idea is this: you are part of something much bigger than you. The ideas you talk about in the hall… that’s part of your job, something you are paid to do for Apple’s success, not something you need to blog about to satisfy your ego. Don’t f— it up for everyone.”
Without a doubt, Apple would not be able to maintain this kind of secrecy and loyalty without effective brand storytelling within the organization itself.
Where should you be telling your brand story? Everywhere
As with your consumer-oriented content marketing, good internal brand storytelling is all down to the content you create. So what should this be?
Job descriptions/ person specifications – When applying for a job and accepting a role within the company, people should be welcomed into what should become a familiar brand culture.
Intranet content – Your internal networks provide an excellent opportunity to communicate with the entire organization on a daily basis. Don’t miss out on the chance to further strengthen your internal brand identity.
Collaborative Work – Use tools such as Questback to collaborate and share feedback with others in and also beyond your organisation.
Internal memos and emails – All your direct communications should uphold your general brand principles to achieve maximum effect.
Employee e-newsletters – Keeping everyone up to date with what’s happening at the organization is a good way to increase engagement. Doing so with a well-crafted tone and style that echoes your consumer marketing will help strengthen your brand identity internally.
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