How does brand alignment inside the organization impact the external perception of the brand? What happens when the brand is not aligned internally? The answer: customers and end users receive mixed messages and the overall experience may fall short of expectations.
When employee image and behaviour doesn’t mesh with the brand, it not only tarnishes the business, it creates a cognitive dissonance that the customer internalises as incongruent behaviour. It weakens trust in the company and lowers integrity scores. And, of course, it reduces revenue and sales.
If you’re finding that internal brand alignment is faltering and behaviours aren’t always matching what you promise, below you will find five ways to improve alignment:
1. Define on-brand and off-brand behaviours and integrate them into job descriptions and the performance review process. It’s important for every employee to understand how they can help build the brand within the organization. Measuring performance against these behaviours will help encourage internal brand alignment.
2. Provide brand training for all employees so they understand what the brand stands for and how to integrate it into their daily work lives. Training empowers every employee to live the brand, ensuring engagement and fostering alignment. Whether it’s a workshop or seminar, online training tool or a presentation from management, every employee should be educated about the brand and understand how to bring it to life. And, remember, after the initial brand training has been completed, each new hire must have the same opportunity to learn about the brand, so be sure to integrate brand education into the new hire training process.
3. Reinforce the brand on an ongoing basis to remind employees how they can bring the brand to life each day. Think of creative ways to make the brand accessible and meaningful to all employees. An intranet brand portal, a newsletter and a brand identity standards website are just a few of the many ways you can engage employees. Launching your brand and training your existing employee base is a must, but without ongoing reinforcement, brand alignment is difficult to sustain.
4. Celebrate brand-building behaviours by recognizing employees, departments and divisions who consistently deliver on the brand and what it promises. Consider monthly or quarterly brand ambassador awards or other incentives to reward these employees.
5. Ensure leadership engagement and continued support in all of these efforts. The executive leadership team must integrate the soul of the brand into all of their communications with key stakeholder groups, including employees. If you haven’t already, establish a brand council to conduct periodic reviews of internal and external brand alignment.
As employees better understand how specific behaviours impact the brand and how they can be a part of making the brand successful, you’ll see alignment improve, creating an even stronger brand experience for your customers.