For a long time, branding was only seen as something you convey to the outside world, nowadays, the foundation of the branding lies internally. Therefore, a strong internal branding strategy is essential to an organisation. The adaptive workspace can be used to reach your organisational goals, including the goal to build a strong brand internally. As a part of your internal branding strategy, the adaptive workspace can be a key element to accomplish this. How? I’ll explain in this blog.
Internal branding 1.0 & 2.0
Determining how you want to be portrayed to the outside world and urging your employees to act according to that image: that’s internal branding 1.0. In this case, more often than not, organisations adopt the identity they want to have, not one that actually suits them. Consequently, this manner of internal branding often results in a gap between what the organisation promises to be and what they actually are. Not the best thing for your credibility.
However, for quite a while this was seen as the only form of internal branding, until internal branding 2.0. Instead of outside-in, this form focuses on inside-out, which means that the brand is built from within and it’s interlinked with the identity of the organisation. Only after that, it’s communicated to the outside world.
Why internal branding?
Why is building a strong internal brand so important? As mentioned before, it’s not exactly helping your credibility if what you say doesn’t correspond with what you do, even though in a world where over 40% of consumers says they don’t trust brands, this trust is worth a great deal.
Actions and words
Therefore, it’s important to realise your brand promise, not just in communication, but especially through actions. And the ones executing these actions, are your employees. They are responsible for turning your brand promise into customer experience – in every industry, including Business-to-Business. A clear internal branding gives employees direction, states what’s expected of them and makes sure that they express your brand both internally and externally.
Make employees your ambassadors
Imagine that all your employees feel connected to your organisation, and work together to accomplish the common goals. That they’re not only employed by your organisation, but they’re proud to be as well, and express this pride to the world. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Nowadays, many people want to feel as though what they do has a purpose, that they’re contributing to something. An effective internal branding strategy could make this happen. If you, as an organisation, create a clear understanding of who you are, what you stand for and what you want to accomplish, and your employees can relate to it, it can result in a higher commitment and loyalty from employees. This not only results in a stronger organisational culture and improved motivation and performance, but also influences your image to the outside world. Because, if you’re proud of something, wouldn’t you want to share it with the world?
So turn your employees into ambassadors of your organisation. In general, content that’s shared by employees gets eight times more interaction than content that’s shared through the organisation’s channels. This way, a good internal branding strategy has a positive effect internally, as well as externally.
Unique market position
Another positive external consequence of a good internal branding strategy can be that it gives you a unique position in the market within your industry. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. An authentic identity and brand promises that you keep, don’t only contribute to your reputation, but also give you an edge, which gives you an advantage in your industry.
Internal branding and the adaptive workspace
It’s clear that internal branding can provide a significant contribution within (and outside of) your organisation. Therefore, it’s recommendable to start working on an internal branding strategy, if you haven’t yet. While you do this, the adaptive workspace can support you every step of the way.
Who are you?
First of all, it’s important to know: who are you as an organisation? What are your values, what do you find important and what do you want to achieve together with your employees? As a starting point, define an honest and clear definition of your organisation’s identity.
Coolblue, for example, does ‘Everything for a smile’. They have established a clear identity, with core values such as “gewoon doen”, translating to both “be normal” and “just do it”, “simply amaze” (loosely translated) and “friends”, which they constantly keep communicating. Simple, but effective, because this is truly what they stand for.
Share this with your employees in a clear way, so that they, when necessary, can also explain this to others. Here, the digital workspace can be used as one of the tools to communicate this, with social intranet components in particular. We’ll get into that more further on.
What do they have to do with it?
It’s nice if you know who you are, but what do your employees have to do with it? How does it change the way they work? What do they get out of it?
The internal branding strategy has to be experienced by the employees and applied to the daily tasks. So continuously keep spending energy on bringing your internal branding to light and involving your employees in this.
For starters, you can make sure that your digital workspace has a fitting look that suits your organisation, both in branding and in content.
Does your organisation place exceptional value on interpersonal collaboration? Then make sure that the proper tools are in place for this, such as the right channels on Yammer, a Microsoft Teams live tile or a clear structure in your Document App.
Is the service quality greatly valued? Then show customer ratings with the help of Power BI and share tips on improving your service through your social channels like SharePoint, Yammer or interesting videos on the subject. For example, to realise their “All customers fan of Stedin”, Stedin created this video for their employees, to show them what this entailed for them.
Do you want to keep innovating? Encourage your employees to come up with new ideas and to find new ways to improve their work or the organisation? You could, for example, give them a certain amount of hours per month, which they can spend on their own projects, and motivate them by showing them how many hours they have left on their dashboard. Google, for instance, lets employees spend 20% of their working hours on side projects. Share interesting ideas and successful projects and utilise the collective knowledge within your organisation by asking questions and creating polls in Yammer.
Is the interpersonal connection between your employees your strongest suit? Do you have a close-knit group of employees that are stronger together, and do you want to make them even stronger? Remind them of what a great group they are with company videos and inspiring messages. Share a photo/joke/quote of the day in a live tile and share news on mutual accomplishments.
You can come up with a fitting way to reinforce every identity through your digital workspace. Carefully consider which values you want to enhance among your employees, and subsequently choose the appropriate means to integrate into your workspace.
An internal branding strategy is not something you execute once and you’re done. It’s a continuous and perpetual process and employees need to stay actively involved. This can be tricky; where in the beginning you might schedule information sessions and discuss the internal branding in meetings, that will happen less and less over time.
The internal branding has to both come naturally and be constantly maintained. Make sure that your identity is embedded into your organisation and everyone’s way of working. The digital workspace is an excellent tool for this, seen the fact that it’s the daily central starting point of every employee. Therefore, the integration of appropriate tools and components will give the motivation to keep at it – after all, no one wants to see the same inspiring message or tip of the day, every day for two weeks in a row. Also show the fruit of this collective effort, because there’s no better motivator than seeing positive results.
Consequently, you can actively keep going with implementing your internal branding strategy, without tiring your employees.
The adaptive workspace can contribute to reaching multiple types of organisational goals, and is a great tool to consistently carry out your internal branding strategy, in a way that feels natural. This way, the adaptive workspace does not only suit every individual employee, but also the identity of your organisation.