Debunking Common Myths About Internal Branding
Take a moment and think about a familiar brand—one you can recognize without ever seeing the name. When you see the logo, hear the jingle or recognize a product, you immediately know what to expect.
Internal branding for your employees is similar. A critical element of communications strategies, your internal brand’s visual elements bring your mission, vision and values to life through purposeful color, relevant design, and photography. That’s why it’s important for you to review and refresh your organization’s look on an annual or bi-annual basis. It can help to deliver messages in a new way and spark employee engagement. With so many other pressing commitments, this can feel overwhelming, so you might be tempted to push it to the back burner. But it doesn’t have to be a huge, daunting or expensive undertaking.
Let’s look at some common myths about internal branding and ways you can freshen your brand to keep your employees engaged!
Myth 1: “Overhauling my internal brand is time-consuming, and I just don’t have the time.”
Reality: You’re 100% right. Overhauling an entire brand is time-consuming, but who said you must overhaul it every year? You don’t! Unless you are doing an end-to-end external/internal brand look & feel redesign, you likely do not need to overhaul your internal look and feel every year. Instead, look at all the elements you currently have on hand. Then, look at the latest graphic design trends and identify small tweaks that will rejuvenate your visuals. For example, circles and bubbles are highly popular this year. When creating communications collateral like banners, flyers, presentations, emails, digital signage templates or intranet updates, think about how to incorporate trends. Maybe it’s by cropping photos to circles or highlighting important text by wrapping it in a bubble. By making a small change, you can refresh your brand without burning too many hours.
Myth 2: “I need a graphic designer to refresh my brand.”
Reality: Does it help to have a graphic designer on hand to help? Sure, but it’s not always necessary or available. Updating design elements does not always call for an expert. Most times, making simple changes can have a big impact. For instance, let’s say you typically use a blue background with white text on all your channels and collateral. Consider flipping your color palette to a white background with blue text. Suddenly, you have a completely different look, and it only took you moments to achieve… no graphic designer needed!
Myth 3: “I need professional photography, but it’s so expensive and my budget is already tight.”
Reality: Nothing brings branding to life quite like photography, but it can be expensive! Fortunately, today’s Smartphone cameras are very powerful and capable of producing professional-like photos. So, instead of hiring a photographer, engage employees with a fun, photography-filled campaign. To get started, think about what kind of photos you need. Do you need employees in action, employees serving the community, or employees enjoying life at their workplace? Once you have narrowed down what you need, you could develop a contest for the best set of pictures. Then allow employees to vote on the photos that best describe their employee experience. By including them in the visual communications project, you can gain much-needed photography at no cost and send a powerful message to them—”this brand is yours.”
A strong internal brand connects employees with the company’s external brand, but more importantly, brings the organization’s vision and mission to life. While an end-to-end overhaul to a brand can be daunting and expensive, small tweaks can garner a big impact. As you work to keep your internal brand fresh and relevant in the hearts and minds of your employees, remember to stay simple and utilize the tools you already have on hand!
Pro tip: Try to tie the campaign and prize to the project. If you need employees-in-action photos, let the prize name the employee(s) as your company’s “superfan(s)” for the year for example. In addition to receiving company swag, they also get the opportunity to step into the limelight, be a guest editor for your intranet or an ambassador at recruiting events.
Melissa Yim is a senior manager in the Strategic Communications practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, currently leading the Strategic Communications Market Offering within Human Capital.
Heather Shaw is a manager in the Strategic Communications practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP. She is a leader in strategic communications with extensive experience guiding large-scale communications initiatives supporting corporate vision and strategy.
Jodie Walls is a manager in the Strategic Communications practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP. An experienced creative director and communications strategist, she is recognized for her expertise in visual storytelling.