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BRAND ENGAGEMENT | Beyond Internal Branding | Part Three

BRAND ENGAGEMENT | Beyond Internal Branding | Part Three

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION AND GUIDELINES FOR BEHAVIOR ARE NOT ENOUGH

Most internal branding programs center around internal information about the brand identity. They concentrate on establishing behavioral norms and setting out guidelines for “on-brand” behavior. In other words, they want employees to know what their brand stands for, to behave (particularly when interacting with customers) in such a way that customers always experience the brand consistently, and, of course, leave with a favorable impression of the brand. And this is where the problems start.

For one thing, it’s difficult to formulate behavioral norms and rules for employees that are genuinely characteristic of the brand and which exceed the basic requirements of good service (the familiar “hygiene factors”). The second challenge is even greater. Internal branding programs that attempt, above all, to create conformity among employees are merely cementing their current status. They risk resistance from employees who see themselves as individuals and who are living a brand of their own making. The question boils down to this: If a brand is supposed to give customers something to identify with and add meaning to their lives, shouldn’t helping employees express themselves as individuals help the brand as well?

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