A successful brand launch is not possible if the brand is not first successfully launched internally. Gaining employee buy-in, and ensuring every individual in the organization understands how they can live the brand is key to building a powerful brand. Far too many companies feel a simple email featuring the new logo and tagline is sufficient for introducing the brand to their employees. Companies need to pay as much attention to their internal audiences as they do to their external constituents.
Though there are a multitude of strategies and tactics for effectively internalizing the brand throughout organizations, I would like to focus this post on 5 major steps to internal brand engagement.
Step 1: Identify Brand Champions
Identifying key leadership and managers that will be responsible for “educating the masses” should be the first step in your brand adoption training. The concept of “train the trainer” can then be instituted, educating the Brand Champions on all aspects of the brand so they can then share the brand story with their divisions, departments, direct reports, etc.
Step 2: Create a Rally Cry
Developing a theme for the internal brand launch can help build excitement for the brand and provide context for the employees to understand. Just as brands are launched externally with advertising campaigns, developing a creative theme for internal audiences will inspire the masses and create a buzz around the new brand endeavors.
Step 3: Make Brand Training Sessions Mandatory
Just as it’s mandatory for employees to attend weekly status meetings or clock in and out, attending brand training sessions should be mandatory. Internal brand training sessions can be led by the Brand Champions and broken into multiple meetings to keep them brief and deliver the branded material in digestible amounts. However, it is imperative that every employee in the organization walks away from these sessions understanding the essence of the brand, what it stands for and how they play a part in representing the brand.
Step 4: Activate the Brand Internally
Identifying key internal communication tools and materials that can be immediately updated with the new brand look and feel will encourage employee engagement. Having tangible branded materials makes the whole thing real, and will bring the brand to life throughout the organization. Actually seeing and working with the new brand look will get employees excited to share it with the outside world.
Step 5: Continue to Promote the Brand Internally
An internal launch theme and brand training program should be supported with several other internal branding tools. Continuous and consistent communication using tools such as brand videos, newsletters, emails, tweets, intranet messages, posters and signage will maintain the momentum of the brand introduction while continuing to instill the brand spirit throughout the organization.
Strong brand cultures are built through strong employee engagement. Following these five steps will help ensure your organization is full of brand champions that have both an intellectual understanding of the brand as well as an emotional connection to it.