Successful internal branding turns employees into credible brand ambassadors. If it is to be successfully developed and implemented, the strategy must fit the company and its goals.
By Lisa Schlomann
How do companies implement internal branding? What measures can be used to promote brand awareness among employees? According to the German Brand Monitor, Germany’s largest decision-maker study on brand management, around 47% of the companies surveyed use digital training, 38% intranet and 35% onboarding measures for their internal branding. But there is momentum in the range of internal branding measures: Almost a third of the brand decision-makers surveyed believe that brand experience worlds and brand ambassador programmes will become more important in internal branding over the next five years. But what does it really take to successfully develop and implement internal branding?
The Strategy Must Fit the Company and its Goals
Internal branding turns employees into credible brand ambassadors. The goal: each and every employee knows the brand positioning and brand values, understands the brand and has internalised it. Every employee knows how they can bring the brand to life in their area. Internal branding therefore makes a significant contribution to brand success. It all starts with the internal branding strategy: this must match the company and its values, as well as the budget, general resources and work culture. For example, employees who work a lot or exclusively from home need to be reached with different measures than employees who spend a lot of time in the office. Once a strategy has been developed, it is implemented in the company.
Possible Internal Branding Measures can be:
- Brand training: Analogue or digital – training courses turn employees into brand ambassadors.
- Brand stories: The development of a brand story, for example with the help of videos, inspires employees and touches them emotionally.
- Brand feedback: The regular opportunity to contribute creative ideas for improving the brand motivates employees.
- A brand you can touch: Whether it’s a brand-typically designed office or a brand experience centre – your own brand you can touch tangibly supports brand awareness.
Especially after a brand relaunch, a range of measures should be developed and implemented to really get employees on board and inspire them.
It All Comes Down to Good Ideas
Internal branding is also a relevant topic for SMEs. To build a differentiating brand, but also to better bind employees to the company. One example: With the launch of a new brand strategy and corresponding communication in 2022, the electrical engineering company Phoenix Contact also strategically set up internal branding. In addition to brand training and an internal magazine, Phoenix Contact has launched a podcast on the topic of electrical engineering and automation, in which various employees appear as guests. The company has also had its own brand app for employees since 2021.
And how do the big brands do it? Porsche, for example, has developed a brand experience for employees on their smartphones. The Digital Brand Academy provides 3D scenes, videos and interactive applications: Brand training with a gamification character.
Expand Internal Branding
Internal branding is an important building block in brand management. Which measures does a company already use and which can still be established?
The following questions may provide further inspiration:
- Are brand trainings integrated into existing, other trainings in order to save time and costs?
- Are employees used as brand ambassadors who act as internal multipliers?
- Do managers act as brand ambassadors and thus set an example for employees?
- Are the internal branding measures closely interlinked with the personnel development activities in the company?
- Are brand training programmes designed to be modular so that they can be used flexibly and effectively for different groups of employees?
As part of internal branding, employees are informed about the brand – and motivated to act in line with the brand. Experience shows that it is essential to provide employees with concrete guidance and to communicate brand-compliant behaviour in a sustainable and understandable way. This is the only way to ensure that the brand can be experienced consistently at all touchpoints.
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