Getting ready to rebrand? Congratulations! Maybe you’re completely overhauling your brand. Or maybe you’ve brought your brand back on course with a newly-clarified brand message. Either way, your efforts to align your assets with your new branding will take a lot of work and consideration.
But there may be a vital step you’re forgetting—internal marketing.
We know. After all the work of creating your new brand identity, and all the work that’s still to come…this seems like just another piece of marketing jargon that adds to your workload. But this is important—trust us.
What is Internal Marketing?
When most people think of marketing, they think of tactics to make customers (either consumers or other businesses) interested in buying what a brand is selling. Within that, most agree that those customers might span different markets with different interests and investments in a potential product.
But what if we told you that those assumptions (while mostly correct) dismiss one important “market” for your brand?
Internal marketing targets one very important segment: the very employees that help bring your brand alive for your audience. Internal marketing isn’t just for re-brands. It’s a great any-time strategy to build company culture. But relentless marketing to your employees can bring diminishing returns. Picture receiving a barrage of emails, surveys or meeting notices about company initiatives that have to do with your department. It gets overwhelming and can even cause resentment.
Instead of an organized onslaught, time your internal marketing efforts for moments of challenge or change for your company. Turning points tend to breed strong reactions, and the right internal marketing can ensure your team rallies around your initiative, rather than rolls their eyes—or worse, undermine it. Rebranding is exactly one such opportunity where your success can hinge on having your whole team understanding your new messaging, and enthusiastic advocates for it.
Tips for Marketing Your Re-brand to Your Employees
Choose the Right Moment
The launch of your re-brand customers is probably circled in red and double underlined in your calendar. But what about the roll-out to your employees?
This date should be similarly marked in importance—and not just because you need everyone onboard and aligned to prepare for external launch. It’s important to make your employees feel empowered and also accountable for how the re-brand happens, otherwise it’s just something new you’ve dumped in their laps and told them to run with. Now, this doesn’t mean that every re-branding decision needs to be an all-employee free-for-all of feedback—that will slow down the process and likely dilute your final messaging. But try to incorporate bottom-up contributions to the re-brand from across the team.
When creating a clarified message, we focus on creating a story of how your brand helps your customers become the heroes of their story. When it comes to your customers, who knows them better than the salespeople that meet with them? Or the customer support team who listen to customer frustrations daily?
Make your team aware of the re-branding work being done early on, and involve them in the process as you go. The reveal may not be a dramatic surprise, but it’ll feel like something everyone has had their hands on and has become invested in.
Link Internal & External—Like You Mean It
One of the best ways to add sincerity to your external brand messaging is to hold yourself to this standard: match your external and internal marketing message. Say your external marketing tells your customers that your top priority is offering bespoke solutions that solve their problems. You can’t tell your team that the actual priority is charging for as many expensive add-ons as possible. It’s demoralizing to your employees. But glossy ‘we are family’ messaging that doesn’t mesh with your actual actions and policy is also insulting; your employees tell when you’re doing a half-assed job of marketing sincerely to them, just as customers can.
Invest in Materials that Make the Message Come Alive
Internal marketing materials are more than just company-branded water bottles and ‘Hang in there’ cat posters. Well, we like those too—but just like in external marketing, your materials should be thoughtfully chosen to deliver a particular message, and with the intended audience in mind.
Brand guides are an excellent piece of internal marketing collateral that serve several purposes. It communicates branding position, and includes handy examples for how to communicate on behalf of the brand in written and visual form. The very best brand guides not only explain the ‘what’ of your brand, but make a convincing case for the ‘why’—particularly the ‘why me’ for employees. This last aspect of a well-made brand guide also demonstrates its value in marketing to new or potential employees. Heck, a well-designed brand book can also be a great tool for marketing to customers. There’s a reason why they tend to live in the waiting rooms of offices!
Internal Marketing is More Than Just HR
Internal marketing helps reinforce a company culture that drives your employees to bring their best to the table. It makes them part of the process, and shows that you actually care about what they think and that you’re working towards the same goals. That gives you an undeniable asset when communicating with your customers.
If you want to learn more about how to go about marketing your rebrand to your team (or haven’t gotten that far with recentering your brand message yet!) then reach out to us about how we can help!