Internal branding is a new concept that evaluates the impact of employees in creating a more desirable mental image of the brand in the minds of customers. The concept of internal branding is based on the principle that branding begins within the organization. Before trying to explain internal branding processes within the organization, it is better to talk about a few misconceptions.
- Internal branding does not mean informing your employees about advertising campaigns or the organization’s vision and the company’s creative advertising ideas.
- You may have had this idea about branding within an organization, so you need to change your perspective on it and find out what the reality is:
- Internal branding is a new concept that evaluates the impact of employees in creating a more desirable mental image of the brand in the minds of customers
I suggest that you watch the following video before reading the article to understand the importance of internal branding
Internal branding processes
The internal branding processes include internal communication factors, training, leadership, reward and recruitment programs, and support factors, but are not limited to these factors.
McLaverty and his colleagues in 2008, based on their interviews and studies in the Canadian Marketing Association, provided one of the most comprehensive definitions of the concept of internal branding: “Internal branding is a set of strategic processes that coordinate and empower employees to Customers to get the right experience in a sustainable way.”
. The concept of internal branding is based on the principle that branding begins within the organization. Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Company is one of the pioneers of branding within the organization that was able to save itself from certain bankruptcy by designing a professional campaign.
Berkshire Hathaway was at such a critical juncture at some point in her business life that she even went so far as to sell her office property.
But the company officials finally realized that creating a favorable mentality and reviving the mental image of the company’s brand in the minds of customers and audiences, without creating a favorable mentality and a positive image in employees and within the company is almost impossible.
The new Berkshire Hathaway campaigns primarily targeted the organization’s employees, and they aspired to increase staff awareness and morale, as well as their level of satisfaction.
The result of this satisfaction was the satisfaction of the company’s customers. Therefore, the purpose of in-house branding is to retain existing customers instead of trying to gain new customers.
In-house branding is a cultural road that leads all employees to be able to manage their impact on customer experiences. Intra-organizational branding promotes a kind of macro view from the outside to the inside and its purpose is that with the prevailing customer-oriented culture (with a two-way view of customers and employees), the organization exceeds customer expectations.
Therefore, branding within the organization tries to fulfill the brand promises of a community organization. With this account, branding can be done in the internal and external dimensions of the organization.
Internal branding, by creating a common understanding of the brand in all internal layers of the organization, enables employees to be able to fulfill the contract of a brand in a timely manner and defend the values of the organization.
This process strengthens the brand identity of the organization. Employees’ sense of belonging, commitment, loyalty to a brand, and organizational citizenship behaviors to improve customer service are among the basic characteristics of branding within the organization.
Intra-organizational branding is a kind of culture-building to align internal values with the organization’s vision, which is done through training, group and explanatory meetings, as well as constructive communication in the heart of the organization.
Therefore, internal branding requires the active participation of employees. Intra-organizational branding is more evident in service companies because the point of contact between customers and employees is more than in other organizations. Because during the decision-making process, customers face risks.
The judge and Packer argue that the brand should act as a tool to reduce risk. To achieve this, the brand promise must be best fulfilled in every customer-service encounter.
Internal branding or organizational branding
These days, many organizations direct their large investments toward branding to have a strong and valuable brand.
With the idea that the concepts and values of the brand reach their audiences through communication and advertising and create a more appropriate and superior identity for them in the minds of the audience than competitors.
Because they believe that the mentality of customers plays a key role in their decision to buy. But there is another side to this coin, and that is where each employee of the organization will be the point of contact or affect customers and each other as elements of production or service. And some will have far more impact on customers than advertising.
In the early models of branding, there was a dominant attitude, stating that branding for product companies does not require internal branding and promoting brand identity in the organization. For this reason, we only saw internal branding in models designed for service organizations (such as banks and tourism companies).
But with the advancement of this knowledge, it became clear that customers have experiences of service or branded product that is strongly intertwined with human factors. The issue became complicated when research showed that the experiences gained from buying products could not be separated from the behaviors and attitudes of brand employees.
Employee participation in the internal branding process:
Internal branding is a concept beyond the implementation of employee loyalty programs and includes the following:
– Creating enthusiasm in employees to fulfill the brand agreement and fulfill the promises of the organization
– Insist on the importance of paying attention to the vision based on creating a different experience for the customer
– Institutionalizing the culture of creating valuable experiences for the customer in all existing business processes
– Creating the necessary awareness among employees about the primary motivation (customer orientation) and secondary motivation (profitability) in providing services
– Exchange of necessary information about the customer among all employees
– Issuance of warning signals regarding the deterioration of the situation in the customer service sector
– Emphasis on the culture of agility and ultimate quality in service delivery
– Establishment of a learning and acceleration organization and educational investment
– Establishment of reward and offer system
Human resource management and branding within the organization:
An important and less considered point is that in branding within the organization, it is possible to build a human resource architecture in such a way that each different department or occupational group of the organization finds a different human resource management program and motivational and incentive mechanisms for the organization. The smart and planned form is adjusted with emphasis on strategic values and the extent of employees’ contact with customers.
Therefore, the entry of brand values into each part of the organization is planned and planned using appropriate tools, and the guarantee of its implementation can be attributed to its purposeful planning. This is important both in terms of efficiency in training costs and in terms of strengthening the brand effect with a strategic view.
But in-house branding has other capabilities besides helping to empower the brand of the organization.
Research in the UK banking industry has shown that strengthening brand values within the organization is associated with increased employee loyalty to the organization and their reluctance to leave the service. This result can be explained as the organization achieving harmony and order along with creating a sense of unity and value, which has increased part of the natural needs of employees to work in the organization.
Obviously, all human beings want to work in an organization that has a reputable and reputable brand to increase their value and respect in society. This issue, like the internal branding duality, has an interactive effect.
That is, both the brand increases employee loyalty and employee loyalty increases brand performance.
Researchers and management thinkers today believe that employees are the most important source of organizational competitive advantage. They believe that the company’s human resources meet all strategic needs. This capital is very important because of its scarcity, irreplaceability, and imitation.
Traditionally, marketers have the responsibility of branding internal and external communications.
For example, it can be said that advertising is considered a means of communication between domestic and foreign marketing activities. Mitchell argues that branding is the responsibility of the marketing department. This is because the marketing of individuals is exclusively in a position to match internal and external activities. Hence, the internal branding structure is in the marketing department.
However, trusting only internal communications should be considered a trap for internal branding. Internal branding requires a comprehensive framework including marketing, management, and human resources knowledge, and paying attention to each of them in its place is very important.
On the other hand, although human resources can develop human assets to improve the economic performance of the organization and the success of the brand, it is not possible to fit the concept of growth of brand values. Therefore, their principles and knowledge along with coordination with the marketing and branding department are necessary.
When management understands marketing and human resource theories well and can coordinate marketing strategies with human resource subsystem strategies, employees are better able to embrace and internalize brand values and their characteristics and behaviors. They align with it.
Empirical studies also suggest a potential synergy between internal communication and HR training programs. Studies have shown that both internal communication and parenting programs have a significant impact on brand-supportive behavior.
Finally, they concluded that the impact of internal communications was greater than that of breeding programs. In addition, internal branding is created by internal marketing techniques.
According to research conducted by Panjayseri on Thai hotels as part of small and medium-sized organizations, it proved the hypothesis that human resource approaches such as staff training, briefings, branding and booklets, and more on Internal branding have an effect and on the other hand, internal branding causes employees to have a better understanding of brand identity and consider themselves more belonging to the brand, which in turn has increased employee commitment and loyalty to the brand and better fulfillment of brand promises to customers.
Internal branding outputs:
Identifying employees as a vital part of any business has become increasingly important for organizations. Especially in the concept of brands of service organizations, this is considered vital because the characteristics and behavior of employees can cause the growth or failure of a particular brand.
Stewart argues that “the more employees are known in their organization, the more willing they are to use that identity in their behavior. In addition, in-house branding, as it guarantees the characteristics and behaviors that support employees of the brand, can be useful in stimulating the brand identity of its employees.
According to social identity theory, when employees identify themselves in their social group, they are stimulated to engage in behaviors that contribute to the group’s goals. In this study, this social group can be considered the brand of service organizations.
According to Ashford and Mall, when employees’ perceptions of the brand are
differentiated and gained credibility in their minds, employees acquire a special identity. When they see themselves as members of a particular brand, they are motivated to promote a positive source of their identity, which in turn promotes brand values. Similarly, in the branding literature, it is argued that the promise of the brand includes a set of functional and emotional values that are distinct and create a strong and different brand.
According to the theory of organizational identity, employees who identify themselves by a particular social group, when faced with a choice that maintains consistency between the goals of the organization and their own goals, act in the strategic interests of the organization.
Likewise, the theory of organizational commitment proposes that when employees believe in the values and goals of the organization and accept them, they are motivated to make efforts to achieve the goals of the organization.
Recent internal studies have confirmed the positive impact of internal branding on employee brand commitment, as in-house branding seeks to create a shared understanding of the brand throughout the organization.
Branding within the organization affects the attitude and behavior of employees towards the brand and ultimately their efficiency in delivering brand commitments.
Brand commitments are the commitments that the company has conveyed to the minds of customers through marketing communications and advertising in public media so that the company’s brand is associated with these commitments in the minds of customers.
The commitment, involvement, and loyalty of employees to the brand are among the components that affect the efficiency of employees in delivering brand commitments.
Researchers consider employee training, group meetings, and briefings to be an effective internal branding process that increases employee efficiency in delivering brand commitments.
It is suggested to convey the brand’s commitments and values to the employees through increasing intra-organizational communication and in this way remind them of the importance of their role and duty in delivering the brand’s commitments.
In this article, we talked about “Internal branding processes” and explained the internal branding process in detail.
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