Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Internal Branding Series & Employee Engagement Series

Second of four thought leadership pieces - Keep an eye out for the complete set

Here is our second installment on Internal Branding/Employee Engagement. In our last email, we discussed internal branding by simplifying the complexity of the theory into; 1) an easy to follow model called Inward's Internal Communications Model, 2) followed by Inward's Internal Dialogue Marketing™ Framework, and 3) operationizing the framework into an action/delivery process called Inward's Brand Alignment Process.

In this email we will focus on Inward's Internal Communications Model specifically.
  • The model recognizes that effective communications and change requires a sequential order - funneling through the hierarchy of effects which informs employees, educates them regarding how well they personally understand the consequences of the brand, gaining their commitment to adopt the brand into their attitudes/opinions, and finally to be recognized and rewarded for outstanding performance aligned with brand values and behavior.
  • Secondly, these steps must correspond with a variety of cause/effect related and sequential tactical media and programs, such as broadcast corporate messages, training and workshops, peer-to-peer recognition and HR appraisal systems aligned with the brand values and, finally, rewards for living the brand values and adapting new behavior. Each tactic builds on the previous step to achieve greater personal relevancy.
  • Thirdly, as employees filter through a media hierarchy funnel towards recognition and reward, there must be correspondent message architectures (Hierarchy of Relevance) that inspires the employee with personal relevant messages, delivered in such a way that it becomes valuable in their lives and daily behavior. This is often referred to as "WIIFM" (What's in it for me?) This is achieved through a message architecture process, whereby we create highly relevant/valuable corporate messages - why is the company doing this? Next comes a highly relevant individual message delivered from the local level --why is this internal branding important for me as an employee? Finally, an individual message given by the manager or supervisor to their employee that conveys what new behavior or attributes the employee must embrace in order for them to adopt new behavior - what does the company want the employee to do differently as a result of this new internal brand knowledge, and how will the employee be rewarded?
  • Fourth, to round the model out, we recommend that when speaking at the value level, communications should come from corporate and be distributed in a common fashion company-wide. When distributing the message at the regional or local level or segmented employee level, the message should be at the benefit level and address their segment's needs. Finally, when speaking to an individual one-on-one or in small groups at the attribute level, the message should come from their direct supervisor or office/store manager/HR. No matter what the message is, or the form it is communicated in, there should be continuity of look, feel, tone and manner to convey one vision, a common purpose and one set of brand values and behavior.

This sequential order contributes to employee engagements and higher productivity and support for major corporate-wide strategic change to adopt new behavior.

If you would like to discuss the model in greater detail, 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 and spot light on making the model practical with Inward's Internal Dialogue Marketing™ Framework - making the model come to life.

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


Allan Steinmetz
CEO & Founder
Inward Strategic Consulting

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Internal Branding Series & Employee Enagement Series

Internal Branding and Employee Engagement Series

A Bit of History

Inward practically invented the concept of internal branding 11 years ago, this month, when we formed our firm to help educate, motivate inspire and enroll employees to support major change initiatives like reengineering, new brand launches and strategic M&A’s.

We were encouraged create the firm by the late Michael Hammer. Dr. Hammer who founded the reengineering movement in the late 80s/early 90s realized that unless you get your key stakeholders engaged and enrolled behind change, the likelihood of a corporate transformation was less likely to occur. So while I was the SVP, Worldwide Director of Marketing and Communications at Arthur D. little, I formulated an "Inward Marketing" methodology that would encourage employee buy-in and engagement through a sequence of persuasive communication techniques. I tested these ideas with a major pharmaceutical company that had made a recent merger and global acquisition that needed to enroll the employees of the combined company with a common vision mission and values. That experimental engagement turned out to work immensely well. Our credo at that time was, “Corporations have to educate, motivate, inspire and engage their people for the company to achieve its strategic results”. We still believe in this credo today.

Moving Forward

We are proud to say that we most likely are the first to recognize that employee engagement and internal branding can improve performance and enact cultural change. Because of our history and thought leadership, we have been able to invent and codify an internal branding model and framework that works. We engage employees to become involved in our process. In addition, we established the industry definition for internal branding which has become the category standard.

Inward’s Definition of Internal Branding

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.

Simplifying the Complexity - Establishing three theoretical steps

We approach internal branding by simplifying the complexity of the theory into; 1) an easy to follow model called Inward’s Internal Communications Model, 2) followed by a framework called Inward’s Internal Dialogue Marketing™ Framework, and 3) operationizing the framework into an action/delivery process called Inward’s Brand Alignment Process.

Watch for our Internal Branding/Employee Engagement Series

Over the next few weeks, in celebration of our anniversary, I will be sending you additional emails devoting specific thoughts, ideas and examples of our theory to illustrate the how it all works together. Keep an eye out for it.

Lastly, I have to say thank you for all your support, encouragement and business all these years. We would not be a success if it weren’t for our devoted clients and friends.


Allan Steinmetz