Rules of {internal} engagement

‘Consumer engagement’ is a much used phrase, particularly when it comes to promoting a brand launch, or relaunch, to customers. But what about securing the buy-in of internal stakeholders – your employees – arguably just as important? In this article we take a look at why taking a 360-degree approach to communicating a rebrand is vital to success

You’d be hard pressed to find a business that doesn’t understand the importance of promoting a brand relaunch to its customers.

But what about promoting that same relaunch to employees? Funnily enough, there are still companies that are happy to spend ££££ on all singing and dancing consumer campaigns to announce their new branding and customer proposition, but don’t want to make a similar investment in communicating the change to their own employees.

It can be a mistake. A huge mistake. There are numerous reports pointing to the fact that good employee brand engagement can boost productivity, and the bottom line: This survey found that the highest performing employees were three times more engaged than the lowest performing.

To find out more, and get an independent perspective, we spoke to ex-Landor and Ziggurat managing director Adrian Day.

“Branding defines an organisation’s personality and purpose; this means it’s essential for employees to understand what they need to be doing to be able to deliver that.”

Adrian says businesses that fail to relaunch their brands internally mistakenly believe it will happen ‘by osmosis’, while others think that sending a group email, hosting a one-off party, or giving everyone a new mouse mat will tick the right boxes.

“Telling people to do something is not the way to change behaviour,” he says, adding: “Once you’ve defined the brand proposition, it’s up to individual employees to interpret that brand in what they do every day – their actions, decisions and behaviours. The strongest brands are the ones people want to join and want to talk about positively…Google, The National Trust, for instance – people are evangelical about them.”

So, if it’s not with a mouse mat and a round-robin email, how do businesses encourage employees to buy into their new branding?

Adrian continues: “Workshops really help employees understand what the brand is about, and how they can help to deliver it. For instance, if your coffee shop brand is about offering customers a calm experience, frontline employees need to understand what that means to the service experience…Help employees to work it out – they are doing the job every day…when they see how it makes sense, they will have their own ideas, will make suggestions and innovations. 

Give them new mouse mats, nothing will happen: Employees may not own all the shares, but they own the idea – conceptually employees do own the brand.”

Brandality founder Adam Arnold adds: “One of the biggest advantages of investing in employee engagement during a rebrand is buy-in. I’ve seen such a huge amount of internal excitement and enthusiasm generated by simply getting employees involved in the rebrand process. 

Adam concludes: “I think we have to ask ourselves, would we like it if the organisation we work for changed underneath us without any explanation why? Would we feel valued, a core part of the team and business investment?”

If you’d like to speak about brand engagement please get in touch.