Core Concepts: Building Your Brand From The Inside

We recently talked about two companies—Clif Bar and Zappos. Both have unique talent management strategies that are gaining them a lot of attention and a lot of praise from many. At the core of their talent management framework?

Strong internal branding.

Companies Who Start Their Branding From Within

At both Clif Bar and Zappos, the company’s overall goals and objectives are very much focused on how they treat their employees.

Zappos has a set of “core family values” which dictate their talent management strategy, but they also extend to every area of service of the company. For example a few of the values include delivering “wow” through service and building open and honest relationships through communication.

It’s easy to see how these aren’t just concepts that directly apply to how Zappos manages its employees, but they instead also tie into their customer service and their overall branding image, both internally and externally.

What about Clif Bar?

Clif Bar’s talent management strategy is focused on promoting health and fitness, providing opportunities for employees to have a more active lifestyle and incentivizing activities seen as sustainable or good for the planet.

While these create the guidelines for their talent management strategy, they’re also key components of Clif’s overall branding and image they’re working to sell to not only employees but also customers.

These are just two companies where the internal and external branding seamlessly come together and employees become the number one brand ambassador.

This is something important to note because while companies will often spend thousands and even millions of dollars to craft and disseminate a certain branding message and create a particular identity, they may be neglecting to do the same with their strongest ambassadors—their employees.

Understanding the Importance of Internal Branding

When your employees are able to spread the word about your business and your brand, they’re your best on-the-ground source but it’s important to realize that’s only going to happen if they truly understand your brand.

Often employers take for granted that their employees have a thorough understanding of what their company is all about, so how do you, as an employer, promote internal branding?

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  • Put your company brand in the spotlight often. Just as you develop your employees in terms of their position and career, you should also be developing your employees on your brand on a regular, continual basis. This will show employees that it’s important to you, and when you’re placing a priority on internal branding, they’re more likely to be enthusiastic and ready to spread the word.
  • Encourage an open communication policy in the workplace. The work environments of the past were often thought of as being shrouded in secrecy and employees weren’t encouraged to speak out about what was happening in their office. That’s no longer something that’s really possible to control, particularly with all the communication channels available, so instead of trying to clamp down on employee communication, encourage it. Create robust internal social media profiles so employees can share in the buzz of the company and communicate with the rest of the world about what it is that makes your company so great. As well as using social media, develop an internal communication strategy including newsletters, an employee website and other methods to share and include all of your employees so they know what’s going on in the company and they feel like they’re really part of it.
  • If you really want your employees to be engaged with your company and excited to share what you’re all about, consider putting in place a benefit Clif’s employees have—company ownership. Employees own 20 percent of the company and that sense of ownership and a real vested interest in the direction and success of a company is likely to encourage employees to get out there and share about your brand.

Do you focus on branding your company internally? If so, what are your favorite ways to ensure your employees are your strongest brand ambassadors?

October 31, 2014   Updated :March 25, 2015   branding, culture, talent management   

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