Typically, internal communications are left up to the HR department. They consist of memos, the company newsletter and ‘all staff’ emails. They often inform what’s going on, such as major group events. When the marketing department gets involved, it’s usually to showcase the latest external campaign. Rarely do they sell the company’s unique strengths and brand.
Selling your brand internally
This is a massive oversight. By selling the brand and vision internally, there’s an opportunity to create an empowered workplace that believes in the integrity of your brand. Not only will these employees work harder, sell better and feel good about coming to work, but they will also stay loyal during hard times, disruption and change.
A way to start the internal sell is to connect the external marketing operations seamlessly with the internal campaign. Use language that can speak to both audiences. Tell stories that include your staff.
Informed employees are engaged
Employees need to know the messages being sent to the marketplace, to ensure that they are informed and aware of the business activities taking place. They also need to be included in the messaging so they too can believe in the brand.
Further to this integration of external and internal marketing, leadership should regularly engage with employees in a deliberate and meaningful way. This means outside of the everyday opportunities, such as the morning meeting and any face-to-face contact management has. These touch points can be in the form of a direct email or an all staff address by a respected senior figure. How often they occur does depend on the size of an organisation, but to keep the ‘special’ feeling, it is important that they are not overused.
Brand vision and values
For example, a perfect opportunity to sell your brand internally is at your quarterly results presentation. Whether the results are good or bad, a few minutes should be dedicated to the brand vision and values. Present in the way you would talk to an external audience–think company banner and wearing a suit (plus tie for men, ‘good heels’ for women). Paying attention to the details and presenting in a formal capacity adds weight to the meaning of the event; your employees are worth dressing up for.
Not only do employees want to hear from leadership, but they also want to engage. They want to have dialogue and know that their thoughts, opinions and work are being seen and appreciated by the people at the top. For this reason, using the results presentation by way of example again, give your employees the opportunity to ask questions and propose topics for discussion leading up to the event. It shows that you are aware of the issues and successes of your organisation and also that you value input.
Internal communications are an essential part of any successful organisation. Effective internal communications create an engaged and loyal workforce, who will sell your service and products better than any advertising campaign.
5 tips for internal communication
- Synchronise your internal and external marketing by using common themes and language.
- Use examples in your external marketing that include your employees. For example, a profile of a staff member who has positive first-hand experience with your product.
- Choose the right time to sell. Quarterly results, a rebrand or new senior management. Any big announcement should include a few minutes dedicated to selling the core brand messages.
- Create a forum to engage. Give your employees the opportunity to ask questions and respond in a meaningful way.
- Include your brand messaging in all employee touch-points. Present in a way that you would to an external audience.