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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Internal Branding Series & Employee Engagement Series

Fourth and Final Internal Branding Thought Leadership Piece

Here is our fourth and final installment in the series on Internal Branding/Employee Engagement. In our last email, we discussed our framework called Inward's Internal Dialogue Marketing™ Framework, which takes the theory and makes it practical. In this email we will spotlight Inward's Brand Alignment Process - How to Operationalize the framework into four phases and creation of an execution/tactical plan.


Inward's Brand Alignment Process - How to Operationalize the framework into four phases

Internal Communications Excellence Program

Our process is a four-phase engagement with multiple steps. The four phases are:

  • Phase 1 - Setting direction, conducting research among the company's associates/employees
  • Phase 2 -Internal Dialogue Marketing Planning and Training Curriculum Development (Communications Strategy)
  • Phase 3 -Tactical Implementation Planning and Design
  • Phase 4 - Implementation Launch & Roll out, Measurement

Within each phase are a series of sequential steps. These steps have a wide variety of activities and deliverables that become dependent on creative ideation, scope of work, budgets, timeline, etc. In addition, the processes and steps should be customized to the company's internal branding requirements and unique culture.

Internal Brand Challenges

Having a codified process is not enough however. A company must anticipate the internal brand challenges in advance and be prepared to address them. Here is what we believe are the critical success factors that should be incorporated into planning an effective four phase tactical plan.
  • Acknowledgment and recognition that internal branding is a process, rather than a deliverable. It requires sufficient planning, implementation, maintenance and patience to transform an organization and align with new brand values and behavior.
  • CEO commitment of time, resources, budget and patience by identifying the internal branding initiative as a high priority strategic imperative so that the company can become more responsive to the needs of the customer and their own employees by re-dedicating itself to the company's brand vision.
  • Clear statement of corporate vision, mission and values, as well as proper alignment with the brand, HR processes, effective communications, training, incentives and recognition/rewards.
  • Benchmark measurement and tracking of associate/employee awareness and understanding of what the "brand and desired behavior" are, and how it affects their performance and on-the-job behavior.
  • Apply continual process improvement procedures by reviewing and adjusting tactics to ensure message/creative continuity for maximum efficiency and impact.
  • Having a recognizable (branded) internal brand initiative that associates/employees understand and talk about by use of creative metaphors, symbolism, storytelling and anecdotes. It should be obvious when it is working properly. People will get it.
  • Designing an integrated internal branding program that is engaging, fun and easy to understand, and that remains relevant by involving everyone in the process through brand ambassador programs, peer-to-peer recognition and incentive programs.
  • Establishing a recognizable and active brand ambassador program where employees promote customer centricity and satisfaction at every customer touch point.
Summary

So there you have it. Internal Branding is an organized, outcome-driven approach to get to a desired state while continually answering the question ...

"What's in it for me?"

Companies must work HARD to make the working environment relevant and important to every employee through SIMPLIFIED relevant communications, so that they change their behavior and know what to do to reinforce positive customer experiences every day, which makes it EASY to live up to the corporate brand values and external brand promises.
  • The company's employees are its brand. Employees must be educated, motivated and inspired about the customer experience - and realize the power personally. It doesn't happen naturally.
  • People deliver the brand promise - when they don't, there is brand breakdown.
  • It is about the customer experience and how associates/employees perform their jobs, as well as personal behavior in support of positive customer experiences.
We are eager to share our ideas with you and your staff. If you would like us to come by and conduct a half day seminar or webinar, we would be happy to do so. Just give us a call and we can set it up.

We hope you have found our four part series educational and helpful. Please be sure to pass the series on to your colleagues and friends inside and outside the company. Also we invite you to visit Inward's newly redesigned Web 2.0 website where you will find numerous thought leadership pieces and white papers. Also you can sign up and become a member of our Inward community.

Thank you again for your time and support. We also welcome your comments so drop me a line.

Sincerely,

Allan

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