Internal Communications and Brand

Looking to get the most from your internal comms? You have to start with your brand.

The propensity for over complexity in large global organisations is nothing new, but it’s an epidemic that does have a simple remedy. Brand.

Over the last few years, the consultancy remit of our little business has grown exponentially. We are engaging more and more with management and leadership teams of $billion businesses on the internal and external challenges they’re facing. Understanding always requires long periods of time spent with a cross-section of employees and customers, getting under the skin of the issues, as well as the underlying positives.

More often than not as you engage with various workshops and interviews, a siloed mentality rises to the surface. It’s a law unto itself, working to extended timelines unrelated to business goals. Marketing is isolated from sales. HR doesn’t liaise with PR. Legal, by their very nature, only want to engage with anyone to say no. Production and manufacturing are just getting on with it - while everyone else makes a fist of it.

Layered on top of this is the fact that they all have their own budgets to manage and guess what, if you’re not aware of wider issues, departmental directives and goals, you’re going to focus on your own team’s needs and objectives. Time and again we get this played back to us. HR, through no fault of their own, are working with their own Employer Brand with their own agency. PR, who need to communicate key initiatives internally, need a brand to communicate to the employees and have engaged with another agency. Marketing meanwhile are working with various teams on communications challenges using the master brand. IT, since no one knows how to talk to them, crack on regardless, ticking the myriad of boxes that are thrown at them without ever considering brand at all.

This is no one’s fault. Everyone involved is usually a good person trying hard to do their best. Most want the best outcome possible for the company and themselves. But, when you have so many moving parts, it’s sometimes difficult to get your head above the parapet and see how you could be doing this better, more efficiently, with bigger returns.

The common thread that runs through all of this is brand. The lifeblood of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why you’re different. Why your customers engage with you and why, you hope, your employees are working for you. Simple as that.

If you build your branding the right way, and this is the crux of it, it can do all of the above and more. Offering consistency. Saving money. Engaging employees. Selling to customers. And by osmosis - boosting shareholder value. The trick is, how you build it. 

Plenty of design companies claim to be experts in branding, but we are currently engaged with three global companies where they have been badly let down by a ‘branding’ solution coughed up by a supposed ‘expert.’  Oversold and way under delivered by team’s miss-selling good old fashioned design as a branding solution. 

As one CEO said to me, 'Design is a given at this level within your sector. You can all design. What’s your differentiator?’ It lies in your definition of branding and what it can do. It lies in the foundations on which you build design. It lies in the power of language. It lies in the brutal simplicity of the core essence. It lies in the subtle management of, and input from, key stakeholders. It lies squarely in the ability of your execution to resonate with the shop floor, senior management and key customers. 

Now all of this isn’t easy, but it is doable. If you know how. The bottom line is you don’t need a separate ‘Employer Brand’ or an ‘Internal Communications Brand.’ You need branding that’s fit for purpose.

So if and when you may be faced with the dreaded word re-brand, make sure and ask the right questions of what’s being presented to you.

  • “Can you tell me how this platform will talk to Bob our warehouse manager and make him feel we really care?"
  • “Yes, I see the logo looks great on the tailfin of a Lear jet, but how will it communicate with our sales team in the field? Can you show me how it works in a Tweet?”
  • “Will this ensure our IT team feel a closer alignment with Marketing and help build user experiences aligned with our values?”
  • “We have been having issues recently with new employees understanding our unique culture. How will this work educate and engage in a meaningful way?

Ask not only how any potential rebrand will engage your target audience and grow sales, but how it will ignite a new wave of employee loyalty and attract the best of new talent to want to be your latest acquisition.

Great branding isn’t a panacea for all ills but done properly it unites and motivates workforces as well as exciting customers and growing shareholder value. If you want to find out more about how we approach these challenges for some of the worlds biggest companies, please drop us a line.