Imagine the scene.. Customers can’t stop throwing money at you because they’re head over heels for the mind-blowing brand experience you deliver. Those talent resourcing and retention woes everyone else is lamenting about? Pfft, not in your business!
If this sounds like something out of a fairytale, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t need to stay a daydream. Welcome to the world of internal marketing, where endless possibility awaits!
You’ve heard the following quote a million times before, but it perfectly encases the value of employees.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”- Sir Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group
You don’t just “start with the customer” anymore. It may sound like heresy, but a brand positioning that best motivates the team and one they can deliver, is the only one that will really work.
A happy and engaged workforce is key to building an organisation’s reputation, and investing in your employees can be compared to constructing a bridge from the supports. By establishing sturdy supports before extending the structure, you create a super stable brand that can weather any business storm.
Employee advocacy provides a considerable competitive advantage, but how can it be achieved? The answer lies in effective internal marketing.
Companies who are totally killing it at internal marketing are the ones who treat their employees as VIP customers. Just like winning over external customers, they woo employees to buy into the company’s grand mission.
These masterful organisations don’t take their employees’ support for granted and they know they have to bring their A game and earn their loyalty.
One organisation that consistently stands out for their incredibly successful employee marketing efforts is FedEx.
With over 350,000 employees, FedEx is the best-known multinational delivery service in the world. Given the size, you’d expect their approach to service to be “best effort”. Instead, FedEx champions what it calls the Purple Promise, which goes like this: “I will make every FedEx experience outstanding.”
Amongst other things, employees have a booklet that details the specifics involved in making this promise happen but the part makes the real difference is the company’s advocacy of “thinking beyond our individual roles to find the best solution”. No matter the employee’s role or instructions they’ve received, they’re implicitly encouraged and supported in taking special steps to exceed their customers’ expectations. The company’s promise of support doesn’t end with text on a page.
When employees deliver on this promise, they’re recognised! The employee responsible gets praise, a shot at the Purple Promise Award, and often some publicity in the form of a PR-friendly story. It’s also reflected in the variable pay compensation scheme where exceptional performers earn more.
FedEx succeeded in making exceptional performance a core goal of their brand with every staff member working harder and feeling more satisfied with their role.
Heads up though! Before you make the decision to dive into this adventure with your organisation, please make sure to take your time and do it right! Your organisational culture is as delicate as a house of cards, and nothing will collapse it quicker than insincere promises. But that’s a whole other blog on it’s own. 😊
So, gear up for the journey, and get ready to enjoy the magical rewards of internal marketing!
Baseline: If you’re serious about creating a stand-out internal brand, it’s time to start asking deep questions and be prepared for (sometimes) confronting answers. How you handle the feedback will speak volumes to your employees, and having an honest starting point means you’ll be able to effectively measure the impact of your efforts going forward.
Demonstrated Vision: A staggering 73% of employees who believe they work for a purpose-driven company are engaged, in contrast to a mere 23% of those who don’t. It’s evident that employees crave a sense of purpose in their work. It’s now the responsibility of business owners, CEOs, and leadership teams to not only be clear on what their organisation’s vision, mission & values are, but authentically living them. Lip service just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Clear Action: A vision is nothing without action. Once your employees have anchored themselves into your company’s vision, the next logical step is to outline the activities needed to make it a reality. Make sure you have a clear plan for the next 12-24 months. When employees know precisely what outcome their individual day-to-day contributions should support, they will be able to more easily distinguish between activities that will move the needle in the right direction and those that will cause friction.
Communication, Communication, Communication: Effective communication serves as the cornerstone of any good relationship. What you say is just as important as how you say it, but this becomes even more crucial when it comes to internal marketing. Sending long-winded company-wide update emails or Teams messages that get lost in the sea of everyday tasks won’t cut the mustard. Instead, aim for honest, genuine connection by reaching out in ways that engage and encourage discussion.
Feedback: Effective communication gives rise to feedback, and what you do with that feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, is critically important for the success of your internal marketing and brand trust efforts! Of course, not all feedback can (or should) be implemented, but it should all be acknowledged and communicated back to them. This lets employees know that their voices are heard and valued.
Encourage Employee Involvement: Internal marketing shouldn’t be solely a top-down initiative. Why not transform it into an interactive and collaborative process across the entire organisation? After all, employees are the ones on the front lines of your organisation, giving them the best perspective of what’s really happening. They possess valuable insights into what matters to people and what messaging would be sincere and beneficial for their coworkers. This perspective becomes an invaluable asset for achieving effective internal marketing success.
Review & Reassess: People and businesses are dynamic and constantly evolving. Just like with external marketing strategies, organisations must carefully measure the outcomes of their internal marketing efforts. By continuously reviewing and reassessing results, you can amplify successful initiatives and improve those that may be falling short.
How do you know when you’ve done it right? Well, you should see and feel:
- An amazing company culture
- Increased employee retention
- Exponential brand trust from employees and customers
- Engaged & empowered staff
- A smooth recruitment process
- A boost in employee satisfaction and engagement
- Brilliant customer service
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. This is the ideal time to let your creative side take flight!
The only question left is, are you ready to tap into the incredible potential of your employees?