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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Internal Branding Series & Employee Engagement Series

Third of four installments. Keep an eye out for the whole set.

Here is our third installment on Internal Branding/Employee Engagement. In our last email, we discussed internal branding by sharing an easy to follow model called Inward's Internal Communications Model. In this email we will spotlight our framework called Inward's Internal Dialogue Marketing™ Framework, which takes the theory and makes it practical.
Inward's Internal Dialogue Marketing™ Framework - making the model come to life

Dialogue Marketing Framework

Our codified framework is designed to be a practical consensus-based process designed to move employees through four phases of tactical communications with specific outcomes and goals in mind.
  • First is informing the organization through experiential tactics using simple value messages, such as all-hands meetings, emails from the CEO, screensavers, Post-it note pads, embedded videos via e-mail, employee brand book, internal advertising campaigns and direct response using dimensional items, periodic podcasts by the CEO that can be downloaded to cell phones and iPods, etc. It is important for the tactic to be aligned with the message. Often companies make the mistake by giving out premium tee shirts and baseball caps that have no meaning at all with the message they want to convey. Choose a tactic that has meaning to the overall message and desired behavior.
  • Second is gaining employee understanding through curriculum and training programs that teach individuals what is at stake and how to adopt new behavior. These could be video games, classroom workshops, puzzles/games, online tutorials and workbooks/collateral, in-store training sessions, regional managers meetings, with incentives and rewards attached, etc. Don't assume that if the employees know about the brand, that they understand the brand. The education process is a critical step.
  • Third is changing behavior by conveying specific messages that result in personal commitment. This happens by implementing peer-to-peer recognition programs and appraisal systems aligned to the brand values and new behavior. It can include creation of local, regional and international brand ambassador programs that will create surrogates and internal brand advocates. The HR group should also play and active role in setting annual goals, appraisal programs and managing the feedback to employees.
  • Fourth is to reinforce behavior through implementation of companywide recognition, incentives and reward programs. Some sophisticated tactics could include an internal social Web 2.0 website with relevant content/messages regarding the initiative that identify people who are living the brand, updates from senior management, a dialogue (asked the CEO) exchange with transparency, 'living the values' blogs, peer-to-peer recognition and reward programs, tutorials/training online, contests and incentives, employee of the month, online/off-line prize/premium incentives, mystery shopper recognition programs, etc. More simplified ideas are employee of the month/year programs, special bonus pools, etc. The main idea is to recognize people for doing the right thing.

When these four phases are planned and executed sequentially with a strong creative metaphor idea and common messages; directed to the right audience at the right time with the right incentive - a company can achieve powerful alignment and behaviors that they could never have imagined.

AFC/Tellabs - Case History

Before - AFC, after a long, thoughtful process, repositioned itself with a new external brand marketing communications program built around a new theme called "AFC - The Acronym for Access". This new brand represented a significant departure from their former positioning which was old-fashioned and engineering centric. The new branding, which was young, spontaneous and smart required all employees to adopt a new attitude and behavior to support the program. Inward was hired to help plan and implement a comprehensive internal brand communications with their ad agency. The plan was designed to inform and educate the staff about the change, as well as incent and reward employees to embrace new behavior that was consistent with the new brand of values.

After - Inward, in close consultation with the client and their ad agency, established an internal communication architecture/platform to explain why the company was embarking on such a dramatic program. Once the message architecture was complete we created an experiential communications program that was engaging, entertaining and relevant to their intellectual/engineering needs. It resulted in an employee population that was supportive and enrolled behind the brand with new behavior and attitudes towards the company and the marketplace as a whole.

The creative included an experiential launch event at an art deco theater, as though it was a movie premier, with all the gala accoutrements of a red carpet for employees, look-alike celebrities, spotlights, ushers who were senior management, playbills and the feature presentation - the new ads. This was followed by departmental training and signed commitment posters for each department. By examining their employee population, they learned that the majority of their workforce had young children, so they created a bed-time story-book about the new brand that could read to their children and learn about it themselves. In addition, we established a brand ambassador program where any employee could be quizzed about the brand by a designated roaming brand ambassador and if they got the answer right, they received a stamp in their brand passport, which were also distributed to all employees in advance. Once filled with passport stamps from the brand ambassadors, employees could redeem the passport for valuable prizes.

The result, in the end, was that the employees really got behind the brand and started to live the new values to distinguish it from the competition. They understood their company's role and how their individual efforts could contribute to the success of the company. After substantial market success and a growing stock price, the company was acquired by Tellabs just before it implemented the last phase, a post-campaign, all-hands employee recognition and reward program.


If you would like to discuss the model in greater depth, please let me know and I would be very happy to walk you through the steps and make it relevant to your company.

In our next email, you will receive a spot light on how to operationalize the framework into an action/delivery process called Inward's Brand Alignment Process.

We hope you are enjoying the series and encourage you to save the emails and forward them to your friends and colleagues.



1 comment:

mourinho said...


I read this post 2 times. It is very useful.

Pls try to keep posting.

Let me show other source that may be good for community.

Source: Employee appraisal template

Best regards