3 Principles for Successful Internal Marketing
Creating a cohesive team gets harder as companies grow. The ideal way to bring your employees together is through your company’s brand. When your team know what and what isn’t ‘on brand’ their interaction with customers and clients is consistent and reassuring, building trust and loyalty both internally and externally. That’s the goal. The reality is that getting to that point requires hard work and effective internal marketing.
Effective internal marketing gives your people, from top to bottom, a clear vision of what they are trying to achieve – whether it be a merger, re-brand or performance boost. Whatever it is, approaching internal marketing the same way as external will help to engage your employees and empower them to deliver brand vision.
Harvard Business Review’s Colin Mitchell outlines three principles essential to effective internal marketing. They are ‘Choose your moment’, ‘Link internal and external marketing’ and ‘Bring the brand alive for employees.’ As evidenced in the article, acting on these principles will build a solid company brand that is understood and lived by employees.
Principle 1: Choose your moment
Successful internal marketing often requires the momentum of structural or other great change to capture employees most effectively. During these periods team members look for direction in earnest and will be open to strategies that give them reassurance as well as purpose they are looking for.
Mitchell also warns of knowing when to back off. The enthusiasm of internal marketing done well may tempt you to continue to push the branding message after the moment has passed. However, this can lead to confused, frustrated and overwhelmed teams that just want to get the job done. Once the vision is caught, your employees must be given the time to implement and enact it.
Principle 2: Link internal and external marketing
Giving the same message to your employees as to your customers lets employees meet the expectations of customers and increases their trust in you. Your team is empowered by the knowledge that they are working toward the goals you’ve advertised to your clients.
Mitchell sites Nike’s internal ‘story tellers’ that echo their external marketing in their correspondence with employees. They share the successes of employees’ and founders’ initiative, or ‘just doing it’, to motivate staff. In using external marketing slogans internally, Nike shows itself as one cohesive company, true to its brand.
Principle 3: Bring the brand alive for employees
At Impact, our purpose is to bring brands to life in meaningful moments. Those moments can be both customer and employee focussed.
As much as knowing the target market is essential for creating potent external branding, so is knowing your employees when marketing brand internally. Understanding the team’s pain points and sources of resentment, then actively solving them, are crucial to making your employees feel like they are part of the brand and your vision.
“To overcome people’s natural cynicism, the campaign and the communications materials must ring true for employees and must draw on the company’s very soul, reflecting and reinforcing what people care about and what makes them come to work in the morning.”
Colin Mitchell – Harvard Business Review
When they feel included in the brand, your employees will have little trouble taking it on and reflecting it in everything they do.
Internal marketing should be more than a company-wide memo and a mug with your slogan on it. While we absolutely support employee gifting, it should be used at the right time and in conjunction with meaningful communication to successfully market your brand to your team.
Read the original article.