Friday, March 28, 2014

Creating Internal Respect for the Brand Signature

The brand mark is like your signature. Would you sign your signature to a statement, idea or representation that does not reflect your values? The answer would inevitably be NO.  

This simple analogy can be applied to business and personal branding. It is relatable way to engage others in making ‘on brand’ judgements in their day to day roles. Too often brand strategy is presented in an abstract way, where others can’t see the relevance to them or their roles.

Social networking has resulted in a focus on personal branding. Job offers, social community acceptance and even friendships can be influenced by an individual’s on-line image and values. Your personal branding can have an impact without knowledge or warning. Thinking that an objectionable on-line persona is immune to a wider audience is misguided.

The idea of ‘living the brand’ through thinking and acting in alignment with core values builds an image over time. In organisations with many employees and customer interactions it is the ultimate positioning tool. The challenge becomes engaging internal audiences to understand this and consistently align their actions to reflect brand values. 

There are organisations attempting to control brand image and manage risk through having access to employee social media sites. While this highlights the importance of consistent brand representation and associations, education and engagement is a more effective long term strategy. 

Every interaction internally or externally creates an impression of the brand. Individual actions will stand out as the exception rather than the rule for brands with strong equity. Building a collective set of positive experiences and associations over time, rather than micro managing negative ones results in increased stakeholder loyalty.

The following is a guide on ways to create internal engagement for the brand strategy.

·       Accessible brand messages:   Branding theory and language can come across as abstract and detached. Drawing analogies to real life examples builds a compelling rationale and makes it relevant. The growth in personal branding has by default heightened the interest and applicability of ‘values’ based decision making, actions and communications.

·       Everyone can recite the brand values: Every employee must be able to recite the brand values and understand what they mean. Providing tools and easy reference points is critical. Find examples of work or interactions that are ‘on brand’ and ‘offbrand’ to clearly demonstrate.

·       Integrate into performance standards and protocols: A way to make brand values accessible in every day work roles in to integrate into existing performance standards and/or protocols for customer and internal decision making, interactions and service standards.

·      Be specific about how ‘inside actions and choices impact ‘outside' perceptions. State this clearly and where possible discuss examples relating to other companies.

Keep posing the question – Would you place your signature here?


  1. I think branding is probably one of the most important things for a company. They want to get their name out there for customers and they want to get it out there correctly. Going internationally with a company can be very difficult, this is why I believe every business should hire brand management companies to make sure their brands are not getting skewed in other countries. Plus it is one extra thing the business owner doesn't need to worry about. Thanks so much for sharing your post!

    1. It is even more challenging in international companies to ensure consistency and brand ownership. Brand management companies have the expertise to support business owners in this. Trademark laws and brand competency varies by country. Many business owners are not aware of the complexities. Thanks for your comments.

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