1. Make sure YOU really know what your brand is—then translate it internally.
Nordstrom’s has its “Nordies.” They're the people who are so passionate about providing a legendary customer experience that they’ll press a shirt for a customer who urgently needs it for a meeting, or take a return on tires when they're not even in the department store's product line.
Nordies weren’t born overnight. This is a corporate culture that’s been developed with great leadership and training—and handing over authority to employees to make decisions that wow the customer. They're living the brand. It resonates inside and out.
At MB Piland, we have the “Groovies.” Being groovy means having an eye for style, whether it’s design for a client, design in our office environment or design that we wear. Groovy means having an attitude that’s fun, hip, generous and collaborative. And it’s about camaraderie and outsmarting even the toughest challenges. Though many of these ideals have an inward focus, they translate very strongly into the work we do for clients. It’s powerful, and it shows.
Who else is great at this? Run through your mental catalog. One that leaps to my mind is the Marines. The few. The proud. They know it, and they live it.
2. Use your internal brand as part of your vernacular.
An internal company newsletter is a great idea. But it can’t be the only thing you do to promote your culture. Your own grooviness has to be part of your daily conversations. What’s the yardstick you use for decision making?
Do you ask yourself and your colleagues if decision X meets your purpose and your brand?
We celebrate the groovy around us. We have T-shirts. Our instant messaging handles incorporate the word groovy. Instead of saying “hey, you guys...” we say “hey Groovies!” What can you do to celebrate your own internal brand?
3. Emphasize your brand in recruitment and retention.
Really knowing who you are and what you’re about makes it easier to find the right candidates. You’re looking for skills AND ability to love (not just fit into) your culture.
- Do you talk about this brand when recruiting?
- Do you use it to help evaluate candidates?
- Do you talk about it in your employee manual?
- Do you make it part of your employee retention activities?
At MB Piland, we have a “Groovy Guide” (completely separate from our employee manual) that talks about our ideas and ideals, how we do things and what we’re all about. This is a normal part of orientation and ongoing teamwork.
There are lots of other strategies you can incorporate into building your internal brand. Want to find out more—or share some ideas with us? Give us a call. We’d love to talk to you.