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BEST PRACTICE: Branding begins at home

A well-informed workforce that understands the brand it works for is vital, leading to improved customer experience and ultimately a more successful company. An obvious statement perhaps but it's surprising how often internal communications campaigns are afterthoughts, overlooked as less important than external campaigns. Maybe it's because the financial return is less tangible, or marketers assume staff organically learn about the brand they work for. Either way, there's no doubt that communicating the brand internally is just as important as any external marketing campaign.

“There is a lot of evidence to show that the degree to which a workforce is informed about the organisation, the direction it's going in and their part within it, is directly linked to the performance of the company itself,” says Steve Doswell, communications consultant and council member of the British Association of Communicators in Business (CiB). “Employees are fundamental stakeholders. The workforce delivers the customer experience, so any work done to build the brand through external marketing can be reinforced – or totally scuppered – by a company's employees. It's unthinkable to exclude this group from your marketing strategy.”

However a recent survey carried out by management consultancy Cognosis, in conjunction with YouGov, shows that many businesses aren't picking up on this vital point. Out of 1500 UK companies surveyed, it found that two thirds of managers didn't feel involved enough, or didn't buy into their company's strategy. “They felt they weren't emotionally engaged enough in the strategy-making process,” says Justin Bater, senior manager at Cognosis. “Many companies think that engagement is all about telling people what their strategy is and for them to repeat it parrot-fashion. But this doesn't work.”