Don’t Forget Internal Branding

Branding. An external program for the most part, right? Not necessarily. More and more organizations are realizing that the internal, employee communications benefits from branding are worthwhile, even necessary. An HBR paper by Omilion-Hodges and Baker (“Everyday talk and convincing conversations: Utilizing strategic internal communication”) talks about why that is the case.

It has long been said that employees are your best salespeople. Whether it is over lunch with friends or holidays with family or just catching up with neighbors, employees are a credible source that provides reasons why we think what we do about an organization. Social media just magnifies that even more. Doesn’t it just make sense to equip them with the up-to-date content that best reflects what your company is all about?

So when we lead with integrity, when we walk around and actually engage with employees and when we proactively share honest and forthright news about what the organization is doing and why, it helps to shape the everyday talk that becomes our brand.

Thinking about your internal brand? Make sure you can articulate precisely what you stand for, have brand champions throughout the organization, encourage employees to talk about the organization in responsible ways, including social media, and by all means make sure leadership sets an example. Communications is key. Given the right “ammunition” you may be pleasantly surprised just how good a sales force your employees may be.

Simple stuff, really.

The full paper “Everyday talk and convincing conversations: Utilizing strategic internal communication” by Leah M. Omilion-Hodges of Western Michigan University and Colin R. Baker of Radford University can be purchased at http://hbr.org/

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