As a society we are used to looking at things from the outside in. We presume that if something looks glossy on the outside then it must be perfect all the way through and this is the widely accepted public view idea of commercial branding. Give it a great deal of thought however and for sustained business success to occur – it starts to become obvious that it’s the inner machinations of the company that reflect this; that branding success begins not with the external but the internal brand and that this can quickly become damaged by rumours that begin on the inside.
Internal Brand – How Employees View the Company
All company staff act as ambassadors and are assets or liabilities depending on how they speak about their place of work including their own head of department! Seemingly innocent office gossip and conversations about the gripes of the day to day management can quickly colour another’s perception and if enough conversations take place – then it’s not long before that perception (fair or unfair) is fixed as truth and spread throughout the company and respect, motivation and productivity are affected.
Change management consultants know that the key to keeping any kind of rumours at bay is positive internal communication from top to bottom and back up through the ranks again. The use of everyday talk within the whole company, on all levels, should not be underestimated. If employees positively identify with their own department and the company they work for in general; then these positive feelings will then be re-iterated both within their working day and with the encounters they have with stake holders, suppliers/distributors and members of the public they have work conversations with too. Change management training courses are useful to instil this behaviour in people from the front line right up to senior executives.
Strategic Use of Key Words
Positive internal communication fosters positive relationships within a business. A sense of unity beginning within the office environment keeps conflict and confusion to an absolute minimum and the general feeling promoted is that everyone is on the same team. Facilitation skills can also help teach many other kinds of promoting branding via bonding.
Referring to all company employees as “family” for instance and promoting clear and honest company core beliefs that staff fully understand and get behind is the first step towards this sense of pride and promotion of positive, cohesive values.
Clear lines of communication – the second step
Transparent, accessible management and an attitude to discussing contentious issues fairly; will provide a positive outlet for any negative talk where feedback can be offered and solutions discussed. Tools can also be provided to aid this process such as a company forum, informal message board and meetings readily available with even the most senior of staff. This is especially important during times of company change when it is only natural that negative emotions will surface and grievances aired. Establishing clear, honest and open lines of communication however will only help the company to return to and maintain the positive internal brand.