As a graphic designer, I talk a lot about the importance of having a strong brand behind your business that your customers will immediately recognise and easily relate to.
But did you know that it’s just as vital to have a well-considered branding and communications strategy internally?
Business teams are more fragmented than ever before. The coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to work from home more often, so colleagues are not getting the same level of face-to-face contact in a typical office environment. Employers are increasingly offering flexible working hours for their staff, too – and while I’m very much in favour of people having the opportunity to pursue a better work/life balance, there’s no denying that the disappearance of the traditional 9 to 5 has made maintaining great working relationships and a company-wide sense of camaraderie much more of a challenge.
As a business owner, you’ve got a lot to think about in an age where your employees are feeling increasingly disconnected. You need to be exploring different ways of creating cohesion and maintaining a fun, productive and loyalty-focused company culture that engages and retains your best talent – and you really must place as much focus on your behind-the-scenes branding as the graphics and the messaging that gets sent out into the wider world.
Well-executed internal branding and design can help you:
- Reinforce your company image
It sounds obvious, but it’s all about making sure your brand remains present in your employees’ consciousness, so they feel professionally and emotionally connected to the common cause.
- Communicate your brand values more effectively
If your employees understand fully what your business is all about, they can feed these important concepts down to the chain to your customers and brand ambassadors.
- Create a feeling of togetherness
If you give your employees the sense that they are all working towards a common goal, they will feel much more valued. They will also feel much more encouraged to collaborate as a team, regardless of whether they are working on the other side of the office or several hundred miles away in their own spare room.
Even the smallest of businesses can benefit from a better internal brand identity
You don’t need to be a huge multi-national firm to take the idea of internal branding on board, either. I’m increasingly working on internal brand identity design projects for smaller companies and SMEs, because the forward-thinking people heading up these ventures understand the long term value of investing in their own image, for the benefit of the people who work with them.
What kind of assets can help you improve your internal branding?
Branded stationery – including business cards, letterheads, and in some cases notebooks and planners – forms the foundation of any internal brand. But you can expand on this further with pens, coasters, keyrings, water bottles and other fun merchandise that your workers and contractors can use at home. You can also make sure that all your company documents look professional and on brand; this includes your glossy end of year brochures, and things like starter packs for new employees.
Your internal brand can be reinforced with great copy, too. Consider putting together Tone of Voice guidelines that staff can follow when writing up internal communications like company updates and e-newsletters.