Is branding only an external activity?

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The answer is no. 

In fact…as a business owner or leader, you should be branding your organization to your employees every day.  There is no audience more important to your brand’s success.

But all too often, its internal communication budgets that get cut. Or leadership consistently says one thing and then does another — losing credibility and trust.

If you want to learn how to lead an employee-centric company, you only need to go to one blog to learn the ropes.  Anna Farmery of The Engaging Brand focuses on how to inspire your employees to help you deliver the brand promise to your clients.  Her posts on leadership, retaining employees and her podcast series are packed with gems you can put to immediate use.

Last week, I had the incredible good fortune to speak to Anna on the phone.  We talked about how the relationship between the employer and the employee is experiencing a power shift, just like the one we’re seeing between customers and companies.  We also talked about recruiting, generational differences and a whole lot more.

Anna captured our conversation and I’m very proud to be the voice of Show #73 of the Engaging Brand podcast series — Secrets of a Great Employer.

Go over and take a listen.  And while you are there — bask in the smarts of Anna Farmery.

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7 comments on “Is branding only an external activity?

  1. Lewis Green says:

    Right on! Great brands are built from the inside/out.

  2. Anna Farmery says:

    Wow, thanks Drew – just let me know where to send the cheque!!
    What I loved about your approach was the common sense factor, the simplicity of your message and you are a fine example of not just talking about values but living them. Thanks for giving me and the listeners an insight into your wonderful mind.

  3. Dan says:

    Just to be a contrarian, I’ll argue that the answer to the question is “Yes!”

    That is, as long as “everything’s external.”

    I’m just trying to make the point that branding tendrils, like rays from the sun, are automatically going to match up with one another, all stemming from one source. That source brand (good or bad) is what drives everything else.

    In other words, if the company abuses its employees, cuts corners and stretches thin, yet challenges for the top (of mind and dollar) in the marketplace, that, eventually, the downfall will begin to be noticed in the dissonance that occurs between consumer brand experience and production brand experience and producer brand experience.

    That’s why I think I’m very bullish on the transparent company model. In other words, a company where “everything’s external” or at least treated as such.

    A good company is one that never has to ask the question “What if this (behavior, not proprietary/competitive strategic stuff) leaks out to the public?” This is because the good company already acts as if all its “dirty little secrets” ARE public knowledge, and thereby takes steps to behave internally with as high a standard as it projects externally.

    But maybe I’m just contriving this explanation because I couldn’t accept the opening sentence of this post. I never take “no” for an answer! 🙂

  4. Lewis,

    This is one of those branding truths that seems so incredibly obvious to me. I wrestle with why more companies don’t get it.

    Or perhaps they understand it in theory but either don’t know how or are afraid to act upon the knowledge.

    What do you think?

    Drew

  5. Anna,

    Sorry for the delay in responding. Kidney stones and life sort of got in the way of my keeping up on the comment side.

    You picked the perfect name for your blog. You are one of the most engaging interviewers I’ve ever experienced. It was my pleasure.

    I look forward to more conversations!

    Drew

  6. Dan,

    Your sun analogy is a good one. I believe the ball of fire that is the source of the brand is internal. When that ball is glowing brightly, the tendrils you mention reach out to all the external audiences with transparency and authenticity.

    That’s genuine branding.

    Drew

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