Are You Mad About Your Internal Culture?
And by mad I mean actually passionate about your work in a good way, in a can't-wait-to-build-the-brand-in-some-new-way-today kind of way?
Sometimes we forget that great brands start inside. Before companies can show and tell the outside world about their awesome products and services, they must pay important and mindful attention to the team members who create and are responsible for engineering those amazing brand experiences. Internal branding can sometimes be overlooked or lower on a corporation's list of active priorities than it should be.
As I lead interdepartmental meetings these days with my clients, I often hear comments like these from our face time "group genius" gatherings:
- "We really should connect as a group more often."
- "I now understand your department better."
- To a co-worker: "I never knew what you did!"
- "Oh, that's why we do that! That makes sense now."
- "How come I never heard this before?"
- "We need to tell the rest of the team this!"
Building passionate brand ambassadors and an engaging culture should be high on every brand leader's "must do" list. Companies like Southwest Airlines and Zappos.com consider these internal branding strategies core to their successful business models. Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, says, "our people are our single greatest strength and most enduring long-term competitive advantage."
And these Zappos’ core values lay the groundwork for its notable and enviable culture:
I'm blessed to work with clients like these who are positively mad about what they do! I recently had three experiences of working again with long-term clients. I hadn't been on-site to their respective offices for almost a year. I smiled as I saw reconfigured offices to allow for more collaboration, customer comments boldly displayed on walls, brand storytelling by happy customers sprinkled throughout the entire office and profiles of customer segments/personas highlighted throughout the company. These brand leaders were so thrilled to show me how they've elevated the importance of internal branding and what it's meant to their employees. Internal branding matters.
Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of creative branding and merchandising consultancy IER Partners. For 20+ years, Andrea’s joy has been inspiring clients with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She’s the author of two books about brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants and ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.