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Inside out

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

The beginning of the brand process involves looking inward. Rooting out and defining the vision, values and purpose that lies behind an organisation. Getting into the guts of it with founders and senior leaders. It's a bit like setting a compass and making sure you are all starting from the right place on the map.

Once a brand is created, it's a natural next step to start looking at the 'things' it will need to be applied to. These 'things' are called brand touchpoints and in larger organisations this can be a lengthy and expensive process.

We start with an audit - literally itemising everything that will need to be updated with the new brand creative, from vehicles to signage to the annual report. This is then costed and prioritised, with larger organisations finding they are budgeting and planning for updates into the years to come.

One of the most important touchpoints, that requires a little bit more thought and work than updating the sign above reception, is its employees.

They need to embody the brand values and purpose. To prove it's not just all talk, that the organisation they work for walks the walk, and genuinely believes in, and lives by, the values they have claimed as their own.

But this is not about forcing employees to wear a certain shirt and be something they are not, it's about winning them over so they are genuinely proud to work their employer, that they have a sense of belonging, a true purpose and a feel valued.

So a big part of this (for it to work) has to be to ensure your folks are they happy. Why? Because if all is not well on the inside, it will eventually show on the outside - and no amount of brand workshops is gonna cut through that.

So here's the opportunity. To create an employer brand (a slight flex from your core brand) that not only gives your brand believable integrity and health from the inside out, but it also creates a sense of belonging and purpose in your employees - which all adds to the bottom line further down the road.

As mentioned, this isn't about updating a 'thing', it's about creating a culture and winning the hearts and minds of your employees - that's not too much different from winning the hearts and minds of your customers. They interact with an organisation in different ways but at the end of the day, they are both are human and need to believe in something, feel inspired, know where they belong and get out of bed in the morning with a sense of purpose.

There's one more opportunity that spins out of an employer brand - recruitment. If you have a strong employer brand, you are much more likely to attract people who want to work for and with you. People will be drawn to your organisation because your values resonate with them and because people by nature, prefer to have meaning in their work.

That means less friction and more chemistry - more of 'on the same page' stuff, working for the same goals, following the same values. See how it all fits together? Yet many companies bypass all this - build a brand and tickle their employees with a few brand workshops. People turn up for the biscuits and leave thinking it's all humbo jumbo, because no one has brought them on the journey, they don't feel part of it and it's not been made real or meaningful for them.

Note: If it feels like a tick box exercise it will fail - it needs to feel more like joining a movement.

In my view it's one of the most rewarding parts of building a brand - to bring what's great about an organisation back home to the people who put the hours in, to create an internal brand eco system that leaves people feeling valued, clear about what they are doing and why they are doing it, and as a result happier on a Monday morning and more confident about their contribution in the week ahead.

Inside out health checklist

  • Evolve the internal brand. - Be authentic, make it true

  • Conduct a brand audit - Plan touchpoint updates

  • Create an awe inspiring internal brand campaign

  • Plan a programme of (Not top down feeling) events across the year

  • Build a brand programme into the onboarding process

  • Ensure the brand is worked into recruitment processes and advertising

  • Audit at all major process and see where the brand can be embedded

  • Create meaning and good for your employees in as may places as you an as you go


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