Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Inside Out Branding

Inside Out Branding is understanding that your employees are the greatest brand asset to your business. It’s branding from inside your company to the outside world.

We live in a time where the internet allows for no hiding and full exposure. Review sites like Glassdoor mean employees and even interviewees are able to share their views.

But mostly, it's not done fair.

We’re all guilty of it. We only really leave a review when our emotions are heightened from a bad experience and rarely ever rave about a good experience.

But this mindset means that our own company's online reputations could be skewed if we don't get raving about the good bits.

A successful business exhibits branding from the inside out. As employees of a business, we all need to understand the bigger picture. Just because we don’t all work in the marketing department, in no way does it mean we don't have some responsibility for it.

Let's take a look at Reed. Sat with the likes of Google, SAP and Facebook on Glassdoor's Top 50 Great Places to Work, they live and breathe what they do.

Their mission is to make people Love Mondays, and their internal atmosphere and culture exhibits this exactly.

With reviews including “The Best Decision I’ve Ever Made”, a dedicated careers website, direct access to the CEO and a company hashtag for everyone to get involved, Reed takes branding and employee engagement to a new level. They truly earned the respect of their employees which has paid back dividends.

Claire Bacon, Head of Employer Brand at Reed highlights that “you don't need big budgets (for employee advocacy), we certainly don't. If you have the buy in from your employees then they become your best advocates. I think companies should embrace the feedback they get, the good, the bad and the ugly, it's the best way to set about change - we certainly have. Our mission is to Love Mondays, and our purpose is "Improving Lives Through Work" which is something as an organisation we feel strongly about, Four simple words that perfectly sum up what we have been about since 1960.”

But handing over branding reins to employees outside of this department will undoubtedly create some anxiety and nerves. We’ve created simple steps to show you how to engage your employees to build your brand.

Your Employees are Your Greatest Brand Asset - Steps to Build Your Employee Advocacy Campaign

According to the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer “Employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO, or Founder” and “41% of us believe that employees are the most credible source of information regarding their business.” Making them your greatest asset in branding and reputation management.

But you can’t force your employees to vouch for you.

Regardless of your industry, building a successful company requires all your employees to feel connected to the corporate brand. They need to truly understand the part they play in turning brand aspirations and company missions into reality, and here’s how to make a start :-

1. Not everyone understands branding. So make it easy.

Your first step is to identify what your employees think your brand is by asking them to describe the company. You can even do this anonymously using a tool like SurveyMonkey. By comparing this with the actual brand description, you are better able to clarify, understand, define and correct your brand narrative.

Secondly, your marketing team should educate the company on the importance of building a brand, your CEO should engrain the mission daily and your sales team should give everyone product knowledge.

Noone should be left out of the loop.

To make it even easier, your company should have a content hub filled with links to articles to share, blog ideas for employees to write themselves, relevant hashtags and photos.

Although this may sound time consuming, the rewards are endless. Not only is it fun and adding to the company culture, it’s keeping everyone engaged and involved.. Whilst also building your social presence, which will bring you return on investment when clients start noticing you.

2. Hiring people who have the skills to match your vacancy is great, but if they’re not on the long-term journey, they could slow you down.

You need to start with the mindset that you’re hiring people to elevate your brand. Your hiring process should include questions beyond just behaviour and skills, but ensuring anyone you bring into the business exhibits your core values, are on board for the long term mission and are actually excited by your services.

By fielding this out at the interview stage, you will eventually have a business with people on the same journey working as a collective.

3. We often forget that our employees are actually the target audience of our competitors.

Many companies have the most engaging campaigns and branding for their consumers, but are the least creative when it comes to talking to their own staff. This means that as your winning clients, you’re in a never-ending loop replacing your employees.

We need to start treating employees how we treat our clients. Keep them engaged and interested. We do your utmost not to lose clients, the same should be done not to lose our employees.

To conclude..

We always hear sayings like “our employees are the heart of what we do”. But i don't think we truly understand the significance of this.

If you could have a happy workforce with increased brand reach, engagement and ROI, why aren't we doing all of this?

The happier your workforce, the more they’ll shout out about it and the more people your products and services will reach.

Sakeena Khatib - Strategy Director at Hytn