Our motto here at Boardwalk is “A brand is a promise kept.” Meaning, first, you have to know your optimum brand promise. Second, you need to make your brand promise to your market. And, finally, you have to keep that brand promise; you have to deliver as expected. If you do these three things, you will be rewarded with brand loyalty. Sussing out your optimum brand promise requires you to don your strategic thinking cap. Making the brand promise is marketing communications. And delivering on it is operations. Strategy, marketing, operations – it takes the whole company to build the brand. This blog post is going to focus on the marketing communications, the making of the promise. It’s a common mistake to conflate communication with advertising. But advertising is only one form of communication, a one-way, one-to-many format. Today, we know that true communication is a two-way conversation that can be personalized. We see how, through interactive, online channels, markets can influence the behavior of business. But even those who have mastered every form of external communication sometimes forget that brand promises need to be communicated internally as well.
When external communication is working properly, it will have it’s advertising message, “Two-for-one sale on Bounty paper towels!” and it’s branding message “Bounty – the better picker upper.” Internal communication should strive to also include its topical message and its branding message.
After a business goes through the time and effort to identify an optimum brand promise and develop a brand strategy, its time to engage the workforce. If the process has been handled well, there had been rank and file representatives on the branding committee. If that’s the case, the workforce should buy in fairly quickly. The idea is to educate the work force so that every employee understands how their role helps to fulfill the brand promise. Several years after the giant, Mexican cement producer, Cemex, branded, they found that workers with even the most menial duties took pride in their work and association with Cemex. That’s because they could see the results of their work and they could take pride in the contribution they had made.
There are three kinds of internal communication within a company. Top-down communication is when management issues information and direction to the work force. Bottom-up communication is when management takes suggestions and feedback from those who are being managed. And lateral communication is when co-workers or departments, of equal authority, trade information that is necessary to achieve common goals.
Ask Boardwalk to create a communication
plan for your organization.
By including brand messaging in every internal communication, a business can reinforce the brand promise and keep it top-of-mind within the workforce. Let’s take a look at some tactics that might be used.
For top-down communication
Management can include brand messaging in newsletters, Internal blogs, communications about benefits, employee rewards programs, and any other kind of employer-to-employee communication. For some businesses, it may make sense to place a banner displaying the brand promise on the wall where all can see it.
For bottom-up communication
The brand message can be displayed on survey forms, memos, company forms and any other type of employee-to-employer communication
For lateral communication
The brand message should be part of the signature of every email, either in the form of a brand promise or a positioning statement.
To get employees engaged with, and supportive of, your brand, include them in the development of your brand strategy. To keep them engaged and supportive, remember to reinforce your brand messaging throughout all your internal communication.
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