Internal Brand Building
“The brand on the outside is only as strong as the brand on the inside.” – Karl D. Speak
Brand Tool Box is a pioneer and thought leader in developing and implementing internal brand-building programs. For more than 15 years we have worked with our global clients to develop internal brand-building programs that create and sustain internal brand engagement and alignment. Unlike many internal communications-based programs, our programs create sustainable cultural change and alignment accountable to growing a strong corporate brand. Our innovative, organizational development-based programs enable employees to personally identify with an organization’s brand values and focus his/her behaviors and decision making to make a difference for customers.
Over the past 15+ years we have observed that internal brand-building programs come in two different flavors: principles-based programs focused on sustainable cultural change or communications-based, “flavor-of-the-month” programs. The objective of principles-based programs is to personally engage employees by facilitating their individual authentic alignment with the authentic qualities of the organization’s brand empowering them to independently act on behalf of the brand. Focusing on the why of the brand to provide every employee authentic context for what and the how of everyday behaviors and decisions. The cultural change or shift that ensures sustainable internal brand building.
By comparison, communication-based programs are an analog to externally-focused brand communications programs, designed to inform and motivate. These types of programs view employees as “internal customers” of the brand, not creators of the brand. In the worst case, internal communication-based programs run the risk of creating cynicism about the brand.
It’s sustainable internal brand building if…
- Everyone understands that brand is not a marketing concept, but represents the authentic qualities and values of the organization that are applied to making a difference for customers.
- The brand platform that defines the brand uses practical, everyday language that everyone can understand and apply to their job. The dimensions of the brand become common place in everyday language.
- The leadership team is clearly aligned and personally committed to represent the brand’s values in their leadership activities.
- Every employee has been provided a development experience enabling her/him to personally identify and align with the values of the corporate brand.
- Internal brand building is integrated into the organization’s on-going development efforts, including internal communications, recruitment, recognition and retention activities.
It’s internal brand building in name only if…
- It’s the latest customer experience or customer service initiative.
- It’s an internal communications strategy.
- It’s a program to support the launch of a new corporate identity.
- It’s a program driven solely by the marketing team or internal communications team.
- It’s a training program for the use of corporate identity guidelines.
Effective internal brand-building programs become a part of an ongoing organizational development effort and a top priority of the leadership team. The result creates a strong, vibrant, authentic connection between employees and customers.
Unlocking Corporate Brand-Building Potential
What is internal brand building? Internal brand building or internal branding has become the leading edge of corporate brand building. The purpose of internal brand building is to enable any organization to tap into the truest, proven source of corporate brand-building power – building and sustaining a culture that thrives on consistently applying the shared beliefs of an organization to make a distinctive difference for customers. Internal brand building unlocks the corporate brand-building potential of any organization, no matter how large or little of a marketing budget.
Universal application and opportunity. Internal brand building is a breakthrough innovation in two important ways. This straightforward business process enables any and every type of organization, regardless of its marketing mix or size of its marketing budget, to build and leverage a stronger corporate brand. Secondly, a comprehensive and sustainable internal brand-building program will build and support a tightly-aligned culture passionate about how it makes a distinctive difference for customers. A culture energized and engaged about how it makes a difference for customers is the proven sustainable source of brand-building power for the strongest corporate brands. Building a strong brand starting on the inside is the innovation that enables every organization to build a strong corporate brand – the truest, proven indication of sustainable business performance.
For more insights into the connection between internal brand building and cultural alignment check out some of our writings on the topic:
Power of Brand Alignment Innovations
Brand Tool Box has developed two innovations in our more than 10 years of internal brand-building programs. One is a powerful internal brand alignment model, Power of Brand Alignment and tools to implement it. The other is a framework to guide a process to jump-start and sustain an internal brand-building effort that works in all types and sizes of organizations.
The key breakthrough in developing the Power of Brand Alignment model was the practical model of personal brand created by Karl D. Speak (our founding principal) and first published in the best-selling book Be Your Own Brand.
Internal Brand Building = Customer-Centered Employee Engagement
There are three unique aspects of the Power of Brand Alignment process that deliver sustainable internal brand building:
- The personal development activities contained in the personal brand training module of the Brand Tool Box® Brand Alignment workshop have proven (measured through the training evaluation process) to leave employees with a very positive feeling about their relationship with the organization consistently reporting their high level of satisfaction with the employer’s commitment to employees’ personal development.
- The innovative alignment of personal brand with the organization’s brand creates a clear and powerful platform for employees to determine how their connection with the organization enables them to contribute to make a difference for customers and coworkers.
- The use of the congruent learning models of brand, personal and business, creates a quick and effective understanding of brand as the organization’s framework for applying the shared beliefs of the organization to create differentiated value for customers – the platform for growing corporate identity.
Practically and Effectively Implemented
The Brand Tool Box Power of Brand Alignment Internal Brand-Building process has been implemented by a wide portfolio of organizations ranging in size from Fortune Global 500 to regional nonprofit organizations. All told more than 50,000 employees from 23 different countries have experienced the Power of Brand Alignment workshops and developed a closer stronger alignment with the corporate brand of their employer.
Designing and implementing an internal brand building process that has sustainable impact requires an integrated organizational development process. Brand Tool Box’s internal brand-building program is comprised of four integrated phases based on highly effective learning experiences and proven change management processes.
Internal Brand Immersion:
Power of Brand Alignment Workshop
The Brand Tool Box Brand Alignment Workshop is the keystone of the brand immersion process. The following is a schematic of the instructional design of the workshop and for a complete description of workshop go here.
Our workshops can be implemented using a train-the-trainer model using our in-house facilitators. At last count we have certified more than 170 facilitators to deliver Brand Tool Box Brand Alignment Workshops.