Before you can craft a corporate brand message, you’ll need to take into account three key publics: your internal audiences, your external audiences and your competitors. In this blog we’ll focus on internal audiences and their role in the branding process.
If you are considering a branding or rebranding initiative for your company and your strategic plan for getting at the essence of your brand is to sequester your top executives in a room for six to eight hours, I would like to suggest a different approach: Seek the input and insights of everyone in the company, from owner to receptionist.
While the thoughts, insights and opinions of your top lieutenants are important, they are not necessarily any more insightful than those of your middle management and support staff. In fact, the perceptions you gain from your non-executive level employees will likely prove to be just as an insightful commentary on your company’s brand as those of your executive level folks.
Why? When evaluating your brand, you need to objectively look at your company from all viewpoints. To use an analogy, it’s like describing the view from the Terminal Tower here in Cleveland. If you’re looking out from a west facing window on the top floor, you would likely describe the view to include the Federal Courthouse Tower, Warehouse District and the Cuyahoga River. But if you were looking out a window on the same floor but with a northern exposure of the city, you’d see the Key Tower, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Lake Erie. Which perspective is the correct one? Before you answer, consider if you are looking out one of the windows on the first floor? Your view would be of parked cars, a meter maid writing a ticket and people waiting at the bus stop. Which view is the accurate one?
Of course, all the answers are correct. But by themselves, they would not provide a complete description of what’s outside the building.
The same holds true for your company. The perspective of those sitting in the corner offices may be very different from those embedded in the trenches of your manufacturing plant or in the cubicles of your customer service bullpen. So, if your goal is to get a clear understanding of your company’s brand, you’ll want to include everyone in the process, from owner to receptionist and everyone in between.
There are additional benefits to getting an internally global perspective of your company’s brand.
- It eases the buy-in process. By involving your entire team in the branding initiative they will more readily adopt it and begin delivering on the promise of the brand quicker and more effectively.
- It builds employee trust, morale and loyalty. Think about how you would feel, as a young ambitious employee, if your company’s owner or executive team asked you for your input in shaping the company’s brand? You’d likely feel important and appreciative that they thought enough of your opinion to include your insights. Likewise, if you were a 10+ year middle management or administrative veteran of the company, wouldn’t being asked for your insights into something as important as the company’s brand help build your morale?
- You are giving your employees ownership. With ownership, come higher levels of dedication and commitment. And, the more people you have owning your brand the more consistent and effective the delivery of your messaging will be.
By including your entire team in the branding process, you’ll gain a complete picture of how your company sees itself. What it believes are its strengths, weaknesses and points of differentiation. You will learn exactly what promises your company can realistically deliver on to your customers, employees and business contacts and which ones you can’t. You’ll gain insight into areas of your company that were otherwise unavailable to you. Some of which will be issues that will provide you the opportunity to turn weaknesses into a strengths. You may discover strengths that you didn’t realize you had. Information is power and the more you understand about your company the better equipped you will be to deliver on the promise to your customers.
However, employees are just the starting point. You have to do your homework from an external standpoint as well. We’ll be covering this external audience in our next post.
Looking to develop a corporate brand or rebrand your company? Click here to read more about our B2B branding agency, or call us at 440-449-6800 for more information.