According to the Forbes Magazine article “How Starbucks, Walmart and IBM Launch Brands Internally And What You Can Learn From Them” by John F. Marshall in April 2013, “50% of employees believe in their company’s brand idea, and even less are actually equipped to deliver on it.” Internal Branding is a business model that focuses its marketing campaign within the company and then outwardly. Under the impression that it is a lot easier to sell something that you believe in, Internal Branding starts with the clerk, not the costumer.
For years marketing campaigns have been focused solely on the consumer, thinking that a good product and a good advertisement would create profits. However, current models allow for the opinions of a company’s workers to be equal to the thoughts of the consumer. As the old phrase goes, “change begins at home” and internal branding is the small change needed to sustain modern businesses. In an internal branding model, employees are better trained in their company’s products, mission, values, and services and are therefore better equipped to provide excellent customer service. With great customer service comes customer trust and with customer trust comes customer loyalty, which will result in more sales. Helping employees to cultivate a genuine interest and passion for their work will influence your customers. Providing employees with training in the products they are promoting, a piece of the company they are a part of, and the dignity of an opinion, raises morale and as a result increases sales.
A few ways to start Internal Branding is to start communicating with your employees and get them excited about your business. More than a holiday party or gifts like a gym membership, companies who model creative working environments and positive motivation have better relationships with their employees. Providing corporate gifts or business promotional items is one way to get an employee to become excited about their company, but carrying a mug around with a logo on it won’t make them excited to carry it. Internal branding starts with creating a concrete mission that you can promote to your employees and that they may in turn feel passionate about. Taking the initiative to have a good product, create a good company, promote a positive working environment, and communicate articulately with your employees will ensure a unique longevity for your business. Businesses who have taken up this model include some of the most highly successful companies in the world and companies who have begun their businesses with this model flourish from the start. Taking care of home first and the rest second, is a first step in cultivating a prosperous business. If “seeing is believing,” then come alongside your employees to help them see the value of your company and how it can benefit them; in the end they will be proud to wear that custom logo lapel pin. It doesn’t matter what the merchandise is that you give them, the basketball box seats that you offer, or the bonuses that you pay, you must remember to invest in your employees and show them why your business is different. Put your people first, your product second, and your profit last, and you may just find that your business succeeds far beyond your expectations.
Dan Levin – Custom Floor Mat and Rug Expert for 19 years