transparent brands

internal brand

As we have discussed in previous blogs, rebranding involves more than just designing a new logo.

One significant part of the process is aligning the brand with the desired internal culture and finding a position that inspires colleagues as well as customers.

You can see in our framework for brand building below that organisational values and mission form part of the foundation of any brand development, while the brand archetype needs to be true to part of the current working culture.

Pretty Pragmatic brand model

Recent research, however, indicates that more than 40% of people in the UK believe that their employer doesn’t do enough to engage them in the workplace. Indicating that these organisation’s brands have been designed like one-way glass – built to be outward facing whilst leaving little opportunity to connect with those within the business (internal comms can only do so much if there’s little in the way of an internal brand).

With the emergence of staff review platforms such as Glassdoor, this isn’t something that organisations can continue to hide.

Low staff satisfaction and engagement is now visible for all to see. Customers, suppliers, competitors, as well as current and potential staff can all now easily see behind the kimono. The internal brand is as exposed as the external brand and often the lack of alignment between the two is often the catalyst for current and former staff to vent on these sites.

This misalignment is becoming more of an issue as the practice of ‘purpose-washing’ grows common for brands trying to gain traction with customers.

We’ve discussed the need for purpose before, but if the purpose isn’t authentic and baked into the company culture then staff quickly see through it and disengage. No-one wants to find that their company is built on a brand of smoke and mirrors.

And so it’s imperative to involve staff beyond the sales & marketing departments when evolving and forming a brand. To dig into the culture to discover how elements of the existing working lifestyle can be built into the brand, as well as where the culture could be prompted to evolve through priming and rewarding certain behaviours and values.

This is where brand propositions such as Tesco’s ‘Every Little Helps’ demonstrate their power.

Tesco every little helps

Externally a value message – something that historically sat well with the brand (before the discounters gained traction), whilst internally it offers an effort message – that the marginal gains each team member demonstrates by going the extra yard for customers would play a recognised role in the overarching Tesco experience.

It may have fallen from grace over recent years, but the proposition that worked both internally and externally managed to build a brand to a position where it still holds over a 25% share of the UK grocery market despite recent challenges.

brand purpose to profit

Companies focused on profit don’t actually make the most profit.

The answer to which type of companies do make the most profit (and how much more), will be revealed at the end of this post.

This blog post is about brand and the importance of purpose.

A brand purpose goes beyond just a customer promise or campaign tagline, and it should do more than just articulate a CSR initiative in a pithy way.

It provides a north star to the organisation – shaping decision-making, product development and attracting talent.

Some well-known examples being:

GoogleTo organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

NikeTo bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. (We believe if you have a body, you are an athlete).

Special KEmpowering women to take control and maintain their healthy weight.

Both Google’s and Nike’s purpose states an ambition that sits right on the cusp of credibility. Some brand purposes are smaller, more specific, or more attainable on a day-to-day basis.

Either way, a brand purpose should provide a foundation for why the company exists, and what it will continue to strive for.

But to bring us back to the start, purpose has an added benefit.

Companies with a clearly defined purpose that they have pursued have been found to deliver six times more return to their shareholders than their purely profit-driven rivals (see Jim Collins and Jerry Porras’ book, Built to Last).

The trick is to make sure it’s embedded into your culture instead of it becoming just a footnote on your marketing collateral.

So next time you discuss ‘brand’ think beyond the funky logo and question if it creates a purpose that both your customers and your company can get behind.