Internal Marketing: 4 Steps to Closing Your Brand’s Missing Link

March 9, 2015 Merrie Beth Salazar

While a strong company image can set a business apart, organizations of all sizes often overlook the critical link their employees play in building and establishing a brand in the marketplace.  

In a Bloomberg Business article by Steve McKee, the author implores readers to not neglect the internal marketing of your business, enforcing it as “the missing link between perception and reality, promise and delivery, effective marketing and positive outcomes.”  

But how do you know if your business is on the right track, reinforcing your brand within your organization?  Consider the following foundational internal marketing checkpoints, and give yourself an honest rating of how your business performs:

1 - Do your employees know their role in organizational goals?
Oftentimes employees lose sight of the larger vision for their organization.  They get bogged down in the issue facing them at the moment and neglect the vision that holds your brand together.  

All employees within your organization are a critical part of achieving your business goals, from accounting to sales.  Identifying a short, memorable rallying cry for your vision that employees can use as a filter in their day-to-day business decisions ensure everyone works towards the same goals.

If you’re coming up a little short, take a page from the Ritz Carlton, who is famously in the business of “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”  Their vision is short and sweet, reinforced through training, and easy for employees to remember when faced with even the most difficult guest.  

2 - Do employees really understand your customers?

One of the greatest assets of any business has the employees that regularly interact with its customers.  They see firsthand the reactions and interactions with your products and services on a daily basis.  

Are you capitalizing on this key connection to reinforce your brand?  Creating “client personas” is a hot topic in the B2B marketing world that easily translates to a first step in tackling this internal marketing challenge.  

Educate your employees on the types of customers you serve, in a general sense.  Help them to identify loyal customers versus first time visitors in a quick interaction.  By investing in educating your staff on who your customers are, you will create a deeper connection between the two groups and give them tools that help them feel confident when they represent your brand to your consumers.

3 - Are employees involved in improving customer satisfaction?
How many times have you faced an issue with a business, only to hear back “I’ll have to get my manager.”  It’s deflating to employees and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of busy consumers.  Smart businesses empower their employees to be brand advocates and solve problems using all the resources available to them.  

Zappos is a great example.  There, customer service reps are not measured by how long they stay on the phone.  In fact, there are no KPIs around phone time – a customer call-in that took 10 hours to resolve was even rewarded!  Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh sees customer interaction as a marketing opportunity to build customer experience, and insists that his phone reps create connections that enforce the real people behind the brand.  

While your business may not operate a huge call center, start by brainstorming a list of things that only customer- facing managers in your organization have the ability to do, and bring together a group of out-of-the-box thinkers to see if there are ways to invent a new approach.

4 - Are employee’s efforts to take care of customer recognized?
It may seem like a no-brainer, but unless you recognize outstanding work by your employees to be the face of the brand to your customers, you cannot expect it to just happen.  As you think about and develop and internal marketing campaign, be sure to include a step that rewards any member of the organization that truly lives your brand promise with your customers.  

 

While it’s true internal marketing is an additional strategy on the plates of already-overloaded brand managers, when done right, the value it brings back to the organization will put a renewed focus on your brand and the customers you serve – a worthwhile investment for any business.

 

About the Author

Merrie Beth Salazar

Merrie Beth Salazar is a marketing professional experienced in leading teams and projects to measurable success. With a background in research and storytelling, she looks for the untold insights behind marketing campaigns and brings them to life.

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