Let’s say that you have great external marketing efforts. You are hitting it out of the park when it comes to ensuring your customers and prospects know who you are and what you do. You have an AMAZING website that really resonates with your target audience. Everything reflects your brand!
You read that correctly. Just because your external marketing plan is being executed well doesn’t mean your brand is being reflected 100% accurately. To truly do that you must engage your employees. Why? Only your employees can actually bring your brand to life in the eyes of your audience. You can have the best website and award-winning marketing efforts, but they mean nothing if your internal brand doesn’t match up.
3 Reasons to Match Your Internal Communications to Your External Brand
- I just gave you the first reason: your employees. They are your brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors embody the corporate identity in appearance, demeanor, values and ethics. But they need to believe in the brand first. Let’s look at an example of what is the “norm” for most businesses:
– I can’t speak to the above companies’ internal materials but I can speak to the many examples I have seen over my 20-year career. Most internal communications look something like this:
This is not a good situation. Your employees are the ones who give customers and prospects the company experience. The materials they use to build that experience should match the external brand that your audience sees first. You want employees to be onboard and ready to deliver the brand experience. A good explanation of the culture and personality needs to be a part of internal materials. Dry, corporate copy along with some boring graphics doesn’t get the job done.
2. You want your internal communications to be read and used, not deleted or put on a shelf to gather dust. What is the communication style of these internal pieces? Are they too corporate or are they speaking the language of the employees? Consider writing copy to match their brand, culture and demographic. Pay attention to the graphics, and make them just as important as the words themselves. Make everything more conversational, more relaxed, and easy to skim and still hit the main messages. Create a voice that employees will identify with and pay attention to. This goes for everything from written materials to video and podcasts.
3. Back to employees: You want them to understand and reflect your brand and values. While it’s important that employees work according to your brand and values, they must also understand and reflect them. They need to understand the program, the culture and the business so they can take the experience to the next level.
Why Is This Important?
It’s important because the reality is that the line between external and internal communications is blurred, if not erased all together. Thanks to social media, anyone and everyone can spread the word about how good or bad you are in seconds.
How Do You Do This?
First, listen to your employees. Talk to them regardless of where they are in the organization. Listening allows you to understand their culture.
Have them tell you what works and what doesn’t. What do they love the most about their jobs? What is most challenging? How do they use the current internal materials? What kind of people are hired at your company? What would the perfect candidate for a position look like?
In order to reach, engage, motivate, and educate your employees, and help build an internal culture that matches your external brand, I repeat that you first have to listen to your audience.
Then ask yourself the following: Do the communication pieces you create support what you’re trying to do? Does your internal voice reflect your brand, your desired culture, and the people you’re trying to reach?
If not, it’s time to revisit your internal communications and make the changes needed to have them match your external brand.