The latest brand value ranking by Forbes proves that Brands are amongst the most valuable asset for companies. In fact, most of the businesses invest significant resources towards external branding, be it for generating awareness, customer loyalty or similar reasons.
However, it is commonly observed that internal branding is sidelined. This is either due to lack of awareness or sheer ignorance.
For a successful brand strategy, companies have to understand that internal branding is, as (or even more) important than external branding. Yet, for various reasons, companies tend to avoid it. There is a misconception that “branding” is for an external audience and it’s unimportant to focus on internal audience.
In my opinion, this discrepancy could occur primarily because a lot of senior management, particularly in small and mid-sized businesses, turn up their noses at the subject of internal branding. However, it is important to remember that employees are the key asset for a company. If the employees are unaware of the brand promise, then there is a high chance that this will eventually filter down to the external audience as well.
Internal branding not only aligns and supports external branding, but it contributes towards building a culture that engages employees and motivates them to perform better, in turn improving the quality of products and services.
Today’s audience is digitally active and brands get caught in controversies as easily as they get praised, and this is not restricted to giants such as Heineken or Pepsi, even the small business get affected. (Bad experience and word-of-mouth could easily lead to a negative image and reduction in sales!)
Thus, if your target audience doesn’t believe in whatever brand image you are trying to portray, then it becomes redundant.
Today, people share their opinion, preferences, and experiences more easily and frequently than before. You cannot make everyone happy, but you can certainly minimize the number of bad touch-points by taking a step towards building a customer-centric brand (i.e. internal and external customers both! There are multiple touchpoints that need to be mapped in the user journey—and every single pain-point tells the brand story, more than any branding campaign will ever do.
The trick is to identify and improve.