This will be a short article that is pointed to get you thinking about the impact of internal brand development and management for your business.
You already have a brand (the collective perceptions both your employees and customers have about you — and lots of times even those two are vastly different), your real concern should be around whether or not you are actually in control of it. Or in other words, are you walking your talk, always?
So, stop marketing, for now, start Branding… at the internal level.
Taking the time to do the internal ‘due diligence’ is eye-opening and transformational when it comes to creating consistencies, distinction, and highly engaging customer experiences that are authentically ‘on-brand.’ Internal brand development puts you back in the driver’s seat of how your brand is perceived. And it will change the way you grow.
Internal Branding Bonuses
So when you commit to your business brand development in a highly conscious, strategic, and deliberate way, you will realize an increase in the following:
- Employee enlistment + engagement in living the brand promise. Currently, about 40% of your marketing dollars are wasted due to ill-informed, dis-engaged staff undermining your promotional promise. This happens because many businesses haven’t defined the critical details of its own brand’s DNA or documented them anywhere, don’t train their employees on it, and thus have not created tangible actions and behaviors that uphold the brand’s promise in every facet of the business. But, on the flip side, when your employees are fully inculcated into a specific brand blueprint, they are able to assimilate it and express it within their roles and responsibilities. Your business brand becomes a collective expression of every employee rather than just the leadership. True distinction is born and lived within the culture of the brand…not just in the marketing message. It is truly a GESTALT-like impact.
- Complete clarity in your marketing message. Fleshing out what makes up your brand position is an incredible exercise to develop powerful, compelling brand distinction in not only your selection of relevant marketing channels, but in developing the appropriate visuals that fully express who you are to your markets consistently and relevantly. This clarity rises up through distinctive brand vocabulary that positions your business with personality, character, and a specific style.
- Capitalizing on the power of your Brand Promise. When a business crafts a highly focused and clear promise, regularly educates their employees on what it means and how they can contribute to the success of delivering on it, your loyal customers turn into raving advocates. The promise helps to instill a value proposition that employees can attach themselves to that is much bigger than their individual selves. The promise is the stake you and your employees put into the ground in which backs up every action, decision, and pivot the brand takes as it grows.
- Leveraging your authentic differentiators for competitive advantage. This piece takes some time to truly take the deep dive initiative that uncovers the subtle but amazingly distinctive nuances that make you different from your competition. I am constantly amazed at the depth of characteristics businesses have about them but have not yet surfaced and leveraged through the employees, their marketing efforts, and customer encounters. This is an obvious place where rich, robust distinctions are exposed, learned about and touted through your employees – it makes them proud to be a part of such a cool establishment!
- Supplement your strategic growth plan from the inside out. Ensuring your growth plan maps to your brand objectives is key to staying consistent and on track with your brand’s sustainability in any market. Well built brand plans supplement your progress by helping to keep the necessary congruencies of the brand attributes alive and flourishing through each phase of the business growth process; keeping you consistently ‘on-brand,’ and on track – avoiding the temptation to ‘follow others,’ but rather become the leader.
- Market according to your unique Brand Style. Your Brand DNA should include elements that describe your specific business personality. These traits should be noticeable through all of your marketing efforts to help maintain a level of distinction and consistency that your customers recognize and create lasting affinity with. Realizing your brand style through your physical environment, systems + processes, and in the enrichment of your culture is one of the most fun parts of living your brand’s DNA – watch it come alive!
- Utilize your unique Brand Vocabulary. Your brand should communicate consistently to your stakeholders in a way that positions the business relevant to the promise and speaks within the realms of the Brand Style. Your diligent work on the brand attributes, core values, and style will expose a plethora of terms that are unique to you and your brand’s ‘why.’ These terms and phrases help to create a brand narrative that is unique to you, and builds a collective community with your employees and customers through creative dialogue.
- Behaviors of the company fully support the messaging = better customer experience. When the brand is fully defined it can then be expressed through tangible actions and behaviors that create distinction in your overall employee and customer experience. So many businesses have brands that have not been defined by they themselves, but rather by the customer, which can, in a whim, become out of control, because we cannot control our customers. Take a stand, take control of your business brand, map it out, articulate it, live it throughout the internal and customer experience through and through.
- Increased ROI on marketing investments. Marketing and branding are different functions. We market a brand. So what defines the brand we are marketing? Clearly defined brands are more articulate [ authentic + congruent] in their marketing messaging, and know they can and will deliver on a specific brand promise, consistently. When this is realized by the customer, trust is organically built, more purchases are made, advocacy ensues, and your marketing dollars just worked smarter!
- Move customer loyalty into advocacy. If you are not providing a platform for your customers to advocate, you could be missing out on a ‘no-cost’ sales force.When you are conscious, strategic, and deliberate in crafting and sustaining the brand promise, customer expectations are met and often times surpassed.And, due tothe across the board consistency and sustainability in providing the expected brand experience over and over again, your customers can’t help themselves, when given the opportunity, to shout out your praises, refer others, and bond to your brand.
- Receive more referrals. When your praises are heard by your ‘no-cost sales force’ [aka, your customers], you get more attention from prospects, and ultimately more referrals that want to check you out! Now is the time to establish an ‘on-brand’ referral program that rewards your referrers in only the way your brand can.
If any of these benefits are compelling to you, I invite you to connect with me for a complimentary 45 min. brand assessment conversation. We’ll discuss some low-hanging fruit areas that will get you back into the driver’s seat of managing your business brand from the inside out.
Learn more about Suzanne Tulien, Brand Elevation Enthusiast.