Inside-Out Branding is a Keystone for Brand Planning

Does this sound familiar? One day the Marketing Department schedules a presentation to informing employees about a new advertising campaign or branding attempt. The intent is to tell everyone the new way they plan on selling what the company does.

Everyone leaves the room and, while the ad agency is beaming, the rank and file just sees another set of words and pictures. The campaign doesn’t really connect with them. They walk out of that presentation feeling that brand initiatives come from the marketing department and they are told every so often what the brand means.

Yet for branding to truly stimulate growth, it must start deep inside a business. The brand's success depends to a large extent on functions in the company that are not the marketing department. So the key aspects of the brand must be an authentic representation of what actually happens inside the business.

The brand must match the way the employees react to situations and interact with customers, not the other way around. Employees throughout the organization, not only customer service and marketing, influence the consumers' opinion about the brand through interpersonal and social engagement and they are a valuable source of information for friends, neighbors and social media contacts who are considering making a purchase.

This is Inside-Out Branding and it’s a keystone for how we approach brand planning.

We have found that leaders who spend the time understanding their brand from the inside can lead employees to a better understanding and even a passion for the brand's vision.

That process doesn’t start, from the employees perspective, with a marketing department presentation. It includes a series of stages that include employees from all over the organization in research, planning, and implementation of communication strategies to leverage the insights of employees about the benefits and credibility of the brand.

This transparent internal branding process provides guidance and motivation to define a brand that does not confuse or undermine the promise of the company. Then, marketing staff use their skills in understanding the context of external campaigns to ensure there is a match between internal plans and the external campaign.

In the end, a clear, convincing brand gives employees and customers orientation and motivation. It’s critical to get it right.

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