This post was originally posted on HR.com on February 14, 2017.
When we think of our businesses and how to optimize our potential, it’s safe to think about how to best market our product to the consumer. We make budgets for time, overhead, and marketing. But when we truly think about our brand, it’s more than just the products and services we provide. Part of the business identity that we don’t always consider is our employees and how they directly represent what our businesses truly value. Before we can successfully sell our products to the consumer, we need to consider the people who help us achieve our company goals. Outside of employee onboarding, internal marketing through brand training is a way to strengthen our companies from within.
What is Internal Marketing
Internal marketing looks at the company’s values and does more than inform your employees about the direction the company it is heading in. Internal marketing looks at the relationship between the employee’s performance and their contributions to the company’s overall success story.
One issue facing businesses both old and new is the idea that their brand’s power is understood among all their employees. Assumptions can be costly because it removes involvement with the workforce and can lead to your vision not being actualized in all parts of your business.
Employees are the backbone of any company and the way they respond to your company reflects in their performance. If your staff doesn’t feel relevant, they can become a negative representation for your brand. Discontent leads to lack of performance, disinterest, and possible hostility to the brand. Look for ways to convince your employees that their roles are important to the success of everyone.
Internal Marketing Empowers Employees
There are many ways to promote a sense of worth to your employees through brand training, so find the ones that are most applicable to your workers. Go beyond saying what the strategy is; have them feel the importance of what they’re doing and have them invest themselves in the idea. Find a way to incorporate your employees in the story. We can tell marketing goals to our employees and still fall short of achieving them. When this happens, it’s because the employees don’t see themselves in relationship to the company itself.
Express the importance everyone plays and then tie it back into the end goal. In an article by Forbes, Glenn Llopis emphasizes the importance of an employee feeling relevant. He says that “employees are in search of new ways to learn, improve their skills and invest in themselves. This is an opportunity for leaders to get involved and understand how to build the depth and breadth of their employee’s skill sets and aptitudes.”
By clearly defining what your business goals are and how your employee’s efforts help get you there, it builds on the employee’s value and helps them better understand the company brand. Colin Mitchell of the Harvard Business Review says you “want them to have the brand vision in their minds and to consider whether or not they are supporting the brand in every decision they make.”
Another way to increase your employee’s familiarity within the company is to expose them to a broader sense of who works with them. Meetings might explain the how and the what, but the scope is not fully developed beyond their specific role. One way to invigorate your team is to coordinate brand training activities and functions outside of their department to familiarize them with the roles of their coworkers.
Launch Marketing states that “[e]nabling collaboration between departments and office locations also helps to improve your company’s overall communication and innovation processes.” Not only does this deepen the connections between groups, but it also broadens the sense of purpose others play in promoting the company vision. Coordinated events provide your employees an opportunity to present what they’re doing and show individual worth.
Internal Marketing Includes Recognition
Your company should recognize the achievements of both individuals and departments. The most accessible way to show your appreciation is by rewarding your employees for their efforts with something that is relevant to them. Discover what motivates them, and deliver on their needs. A poorly thought out incentive can be worse than no recognition at all as it shows how little thought went into their appreciation.
Your employees have strong preferences in what they like, so tailoring recognition around the individual shows consideration from management. Bonuses for hitting deadlines and milestones, paid time off, or large company functions make longer lasting impressions with your employees, and will continue to motivate them to do their best for the company.
Connecting with your employees helps you develop a sense of their importance and fosters a deeper appreciation for where they work.
Your company has to be profitable to sustain itself, but it can’t succeed at the expense of your workers. Ultimately, those who work for you shape the product, and if they’re dissatisfied, their work will show it. Find a way to capitalize off the efforts of your employees and encourage them to see what you see. Share your vision, and help them jump onboard with the idea to do their best and deliver what your brand stands for.