Here’s a red flag for CEOs and HR executives: There is a real and growing gap between employees and how they connect with their company’s larger vision and purpose. Some icons such as Intel, Zappos and 3M have been at the forefront of closing this gap through internal brand activation, a term that is just starting to get the attention it deserves.
Internal brand activation is the process of investing employees in what a company stands for and connecting that to their work in ways that help them contribute to the brand’s success. And it’s an area that holds tremendous potential for businesses.
Simple Truth helps organizations uncover what they stand for and then designs ways for people to connect with it. We’ve witnessed the power of internal brand activation, and we recently conducted a study to gain deeper insights into how organizations succeed at it. We surveyed 200 people who feel that the organizations they work at are successfully communicating and activating what their company stands for with employees. We looked at their company’s overall approach as well as the specific methods they use to engage with employees. And we dug into the real value this has both for employees and for the business itself.
For companies interested in internal brand activation, here are three overarching considerations drawn from this study:
Don’t look for stock solutions. Focus on tools that are relevant to your organization.
The methods companies employ vary widely and often get very creative. But the approaches that resonate most with participants are those that give them enough of an insider perspective on the brand so that they can understand their role in the company’s future.
When employees are invested in the brand, they become better advocates (and employees).
One study participant put it this way: “People want to be valued, not interchangeable.” On the whole, responses revealed that participants wanted to be included in the company’s larger vision and to contribute to its success.
When companies empower employees to advance the brand, they have the power to affect business growth.
Given what companies invest in involving employees in the brand, it makes sense that they ask, “What’s in it for the business?” Study participants point to benefits of internal brand activation that go above and beyond employee morale.
This is just a snapshot of our 2016 internal brand activation study, the first in our new Truth Matters series.