Internal Branding and Employee Engagement

A recent study by Standard Life shows that the employees the felt part of the business and understood its goals were willing and able to contribute their best to achieving those goals.

Your internal communications plan and branding is a huge step toward employee engagement and here is a list of eight things to do about it:

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3 Branding Myths & 3 Branding Principles

Branding isn’t just one aspect of your marketing campaign. It is the combination of everything your business stands for. Branding is not created with a single, stand-alone event — rather it is created over time through a series of strategically thought-out actions.

Let’s review a few common myths about branding and introduce some constructive, proactive branding principles worth remembering.

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Co-Branding/Dual Branding

Co-branding (also called Dual Branding) has become a rage in the marketing arena, with companies realizing that isolation is not after all the best policy.

The markets of yesterday saw companies focusing on the customer thinking about “How can I promote my jeans?” The marketers today believe that the myopia needs to clear off to a “How do I define my customer?” approach. By saying, “defining my customer”, i don’t mean getting back to classroom and assessing who the target consumer is. Defining a customer means more in terms of creating a persona for the customer, or rather shaping the customer.

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Portmanteau – Brand Naming Tips

The Strategic Name Development Blog has an excellent post about the notion of pormanteau (a word that is formed by combining both sounds and meanings from two or more words), titled Company Naming: What’s in Your Portmanteau?:

It was Lewis Carroll who first used the word “portmanteau” to describe a word made up of other words – in this case, the words he had invented for the poem “Jabberwocky.” While some portmanteau words, like “guesstimate,” have an immediately obvious meaning, “brillig” and “slithy” are not so obvious.

There are two reasons portmanteaux make good company names. The first is that, as coined words, they are much easier to trademark than natural words. (But you still need to check the trademark database to make sure no one else invented the word before you did.)

The second reason for choosing a portmanteau name is the ability to evoke two or more concepts with one word: Verizon, for instance, is a combination of the Latin word veritas, meaning “truth,” and the English word “horizon.”

More resources on the subject:

5 Brand Lessons For New Entrants

Janice Spark in has five valuable lessons for brands entering new markets:

1. Value must be the core of the brand

New players seeking to gain market share in an established industry can generally expect to be met by a public with a mixture of hope and resigned cynicism. While some potential customers will display a touching belief that the new player will drive prices downward, many consumers believe first in the tendency of business to maintain monopolies, duopolies and a fixed range of prices.

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Top Growing Web Brands

Nielsen//NetRatings, a global leader in Internet media and market research, announced last week that user-generated content sites, platforms for photo sharing, video sharing and blogging, comprised five out of the top 10 fastest growing Web brands in July 2006.

Image hosting site ImageShack ranked No. 4 among July’s fastest growing Web brands, increasing 233 percent, from a unique audience of 2.3 million to 7.7 million (see Table 1)., a video sharing site, took the No. 5 spot, increasing 213 percent, from 965,000 to 3.0 million unique visitors. Photo sharing site Flickr followed at No. 6, growing 201 percent from 2.1 million to 6.3 million unique visitors. Other user-generated content sites that made it into the top 10 fastest growing Web brands were MySpace, with a 183 percent year-over-year increase, and Wikipedia, with a 181 percent year- over-year increase.

“User-generated content sites have seen significant growth over the past year, owing in large part to their reliance on viral marketing. They also benefit from their cost-effectiveness — the content is practically free.”

said Jon Gibs, director of media analytics, Nielsen//NetRatings.

Brand % Growth
HSBC                   394%
Sonic Solutions     241%
Associated Press   234%
ImageShack          233%
——————————————————————–            213%
Flickr                    201%
ARTIST Direct       185%
——————————————————————–     184%
MySpace                183%
Wikipedia               181%

Brand Think – Weekend Reading

From Lilian Wong’s Brand Think: a guide to branding:

Brands are undeniably pervasive in our lives. Besides the consumer brands that we use daily, there is subconsciuous awareness of how the way our lives chart out, had something to do with the brands we were associated with. I am talking about brands we choose for education, career, and maybe, even the district we live in, each of which carry meanings and associations, and could perhaps have made our lives somewhat different.

The concept of Brand Person […] is and easy concept for anyone to relate to. It offers a starting point for people to put more thought into getting into brandint and taking control of marketing their own brands. That’s how Brand Think emerged. It has to get down to knowing the nuts and bolts of branding and committing to a discipline of action.

The B.R.A.N.D.I.N.G. Approach

The Interbrand survey focuses on brands that are ‘global’ – in their words, global brands are ‘available in many countries and, though they may differ from country to country, the localized versions have a common goal and a similar identity.’

Although it can be extremely successful, this is not always the best strategy to adopt. A global brand brings with it an extra set of challenges and costs associated with achieving the consistency and scale of a global brand along with the intimacy of a local brand. Choosing the right communication strategy for each country (and culture) is a critical but complex task.

Companies competing well in several markets may be seduced into a global branding strategy which does not match the business strategy for the organization. If this happens, the company will find itself doing neither the local nor the global aspects very well. Conversely, if it makes sense for the business strategy to be global, then, of course, global branding is also going to be critical.

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UK Superbrands

Microsoft has taken first place in this year’s Superbrands Awards, intended to recognise the highest standards of branding.

The BBC came second, with British Airways third and Mercedes-Benz and Porsche taking fourth and fifth respectively. Marks & Spencer proved its return to favour with the public by taking sixth place.

The Superbrands Council, which includes direct marketing guru Drayton Bird and the co-founder of Innocent drinks Richard Reed, considered more than 1,200 brands. Of these, 650 were selected and rated by a 2,373 strong consumer panel, coordinated by market research company YouGov.

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Branding for Your Employees (Too)

Adotas on internal branding:

As with any good marketing effort, it pays to begin by looking at the target audience. No doubt your internal audience has some awareness of your brand. Yet in many companies, especially ones that have recently reinvented themselves, employees may have no idea of what the brand stands for, where the company is going or even how the branded product or solution fits into customers’ lives or businesses. It’s a safe bet that if the employees aren’t sure what the brand essence is, the customers are wondering as well. (The paradox here is that some companies have to ask their customers what the brand stands for before they can move ahead.)

Many companies make fundamental strategic shifts in their businesses and assume that the rank and file will “get it” and “get behind it”. Of course, the reality is that a workforce with a wishy-washy understanding or, worse yet, a misunderstanding of the brand, its essence and its direction, will end up being a drag on company progress.

In the end, companies need to create a clear, consistent image for employees and recruits. The company image projected in the customer and employee marketplace should match up to what new employees experience when they are hired and on the job. The image should be communicated in terms that everyone understands. Letting recruits and employees role-play is a good way to introduce “real life” meaning to the message. Don’t take anything for granted with employees and recruits – communicate with them like customers and turn a buzzword into a powerful workforce enabler!

Read full Buzzwords are Branding Weapons: How Marketers Can Steer Buzz into Big Bucks