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Don't Overlook Your Biggest Brand Advocates

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 17, 2010

Branding efforts often focus on the external audience and not on the internal audience, but it’s important to remember the brand inside. Internal adoption of the brand—and the message, clarity, and alignment around the meaning of the brand—is critical to a cohesive and unified message. If your internal brand advocates get it, word will spread to the outside world. Similarly, the converse is true: If there is not internal alignment among all departments and employees, then the outside message is disjointed and the meaning of the brand is disconnected. Small businesses need to partner effectively with their employees to make sure they are fully aware of the brand. A few ways you can do this are:

1. Take steps to launch the brand internally. Hold a brand party, explain the values, and distribute tools and trinkets that outline the brand message in a memorable and distinctive way.

2. Make it easy for the brand to be remembered. Pass out t-shirts, develop posters and ID tags, create splash screens, and use social media and the intranet to deploy the message.

3. A small business in which everyone wears many hats should appoint someone as keeper of the brand to patrol all verbal and visual executions. Brands often have "brand police" to make sure that everything is always on-topic and on-brand.

Your internal employees are your biggest brand advocates. It’s important that they be aware of your brand messaging so that communication touch points remain consistent at all times. Even when you are small, the little steps you put in place ensure that you control the brand before it controls you. Remember: When your employees leave the office, they still embody your brand and your brand values. If they’re going to talk about your brand (as they probably will), make sure they spread the word by staying on-brand.

Andrea Naddaff
Partner & Vice-President, Business Development
Corey McPherson Nash
Watertown, Mass.

Reader Comments

Jeannette Paladino

June 19, 2010 12:37 AM

I couldn't agree more. Your employee brand advocates should be mobilized on social networking sites promoting the posts and tweets of senior leadership. Zappos is the gold standard. Tony Hseih has close to 1.7 million followers on Twitter and over 500 Zappos employees have Twitter accounts. That's a small army of company brand advocates. Other companies are starting to get the message but not nearly enough are leveraging their own employees as brand ambassadors.

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