If the statement still seems arguable, there is now a large groundswell of opinion that brand building is no mere function of marketing or communication, but rather a primary activity that engages the entire business value chain, from service or product ideation to the design and construction of business systems.
There is a key strategic challenge to this approach. For every dimension of the value chain and all points of contact with stakeholder groups depend on the input and performance of employees, the people of the brand. The conclusion is clear: internal brand building is an absolute imperative for business performance.
The internal brand building models developed by brand consultancy firms such as Brand Union and Second-To-None show that employees firstly need to be aware of and understand the purpose of a brand in order to design and deliver cohesive contact experiences. Employees need to understand the uniqueness of the brand purpose and how their daily actions and behaviours can support this purpose.
Awareness is only a starting point
However, awareness, or an intellectual understanding of the brand, is merely a necessary starting point. To ensure that employees attain the individual confidence and desire to deliver the brand purpose at all contact points, they actually need to believe in it. This goal is not successfully achieved through internal brand awareness campaigns only. Employees cannot simply be reasoned into believing in the brand. To achieve genuine commitment to the brand, employees need to experience a culture of truth, an internal brand environment genuinely based on what the brand stands for.
This line of reasoning is two-fold. Firstly, an internal culture that genuinely embodies the brand purpose is led by individuals that set the example. Where the leadership and management of an organisation genuinely uphold the brand purpose in every decision and action, they build an organisation and internal culture truthfully based on the brand. The people of the brand are thus naturally guided and supported in their understanding of the brand's uniqueness and are given convincing reasons to believe that the brand actually matters. The cohesive delivery of the unique value of the brand across points of contact becomes an attainable goal.
Brand leaders and managers must set the example
Secondly, the role of human resource management is repositioned. The aim is to recruit people who through their attitude and drive are able to align themselves with the brand purpose and to build an internal environment and culture that in turn offers support to excel in building the brand. For example, one cannot present the external world with a brand promise of innovation and collaboration while employees have to combat with top-down organisational systems and autocratic decision-making. Not only does such conflict between promise and delivery constrain employees in their daily performance, it stimulates an internal culture of cynics and non-brand believers.
The leaders and managers of brands set the example. Where their decisions and actions are clearly and naturally guided by the brand purpose there is genuine reason to believe in the brand. Once Human Resource Management turns its focus to employing people who embody the brand purpose, offer guidance and support to managers and departments towards building an internal organisational culture that is true to the brand, employees will have reason and motivation enough to perform on-brand. Leading and building the internal brand efficiently, with integrity, should be key performance measures for all leaders, managers and human resource personnel.
That's just funny. HR as anything other than written warning issuers and birthday email senders. Bwahahahaha. You cannot entrust the least imaginative, least creative and least skilled people in an organisation to lead internal marketing. HR is the bottom of the barrel in any organisation. If HR people were any good at anything, they wouldn't be sitting in HR. Posted on 1 Oct 2012 10:41
I think you have the wrong end of the stick, completely; nowhere is it said that HR must come up with the marketing and brand-building strategies; that is the function of the the marketing people and management. What is being said is that HR must try to employ the sort of people who have the potential to be brand ambassadors for the company.
I must say, I am surprised to find anyone with such a low opinion of HR people - you make them sound somewhat moronic, which they are clearly not.
I'm not in HR, by the way. Posted on 2 Oct 2012 05:25
Maybe my bit is unclear. I am aware of HR not coming up with the creative idea but they are tasked with finding the creative people who do. My experience with HR over the last 20 years is that they have no idea at all of what constitutes talent. Absolutely none. Even agency HR people who should know better have no idea. I have a low opinion of them because the majority of them arrogantly believe that just because they work in an ad agency, they are automatically imbued with creative powers to do all things agency related, including the power to can great ideas. Believe me, I have seen it and it is not pretty. Posted on 2 Oct 2012 15:55
Point taken. The way we do it in our company is to have the head of department formulate, with HR, the advert, after which HR does the the basic 'weeding' of the applications, to arrive at a pile of 'possibles' CVs. Then the HoD works through them, discussing with HR where necessary, to arrive at the shortlist. These are then called in for interviews with the HoD and HR - but the former does most of the questioning; HR being there to provide any answers on the HR front, and pose questions on it should the need arise. It seems to work pretty well. Posted on 3 Oct 2012 05:14
i love this article. There are so many corporations that dont realise the importance of maintaining internal brand development and growth, before external brand image is achieved. Posted on 1 Oct 2012 12:50
Corporations and companies tend to treat people as cattle and don't really care that they are human beings and want to be involved with the corporation or company that they work for. Nasa got this right that even a cleaning person is proud of their jobs because what they do helps get a spaceship off the ground. Ever wonder why Google is so successful, look how they treat their staff. If you can't inspire your staff, how do you inspire someone to use your product or service? Posted on 2 Oct 2012 08:16
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