Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Internal brand alignment — make it easy to live the brand

The brand lives through your people

Branding is so much more than a logo and a set of colors (although those are an important representation). Branding is about the experience of the organization, its products and services, its people and its communications. A bad brand experience can happen anywhere. But the one people will remember and share is when it’s personal — a rude phone call, poor customer service, a contact person who can’t help because she’s untrained. Internal brand alignment helps your people live the brand.

internal brand alignment begins with your peopleExternal branding or internal?

An essential element of a new, refreshed or restaged brand is introducing it to everyone in the organization and providing them with the tools to communicate its essence.

Why? Because where your brand lives is with your people. When they embrace it, understand what it stands for, know the organization’s purpose and heart and have the tools to make it, they will take ownership and create that positive brand experience.

So many times leadership will look at rebranding as creating a new logo and a new set of graphic standards for communications — from print to online. Yes, that’s important because it creates visual consistency and can reinforce essential messages and ideas, but it’s external.

How does that carry into the day-to-day world of communications, customer service and one-on-one interactions? With internal brand alignment, the tools make it easy.

Build in basic tools for day-to-day branding

Sure, the brand must be consistent on the website, on brochures and catalogs, even on business cards. (We do that.) But how can you create the  internal brand and make it easy for everyone to adopt? Build in basic tools, template, displays and training.

What if … a staff person could click File/New in Microsoft Word and end up with a template for a letter that is already pre-configured with the logo, colors, address, brand promise and a style sheet pre-defined for fonts, margins, paragraphs and bullets? And do the same for PowerPoint, with a choice of two or three different design systems? And have Memo and Fax forms accessible at the click of a mouse, already designed and formatted? No more copy and paste of the logo, no more “this is my version of the brand.”

Most offices now have color laser printers … it’s possible to cut printed stationery and create all of your letters and forms in your word processing software, color or black and white. It streamlines managing inventory and reduces costs.

Internal brand alignment follows a graphic style guide

Part of the style guide provided for the New York State Association of Counties

And what if your internal communications team had a reference guide to the brand color palette, with all colors defined in RGB, CMYK, PMS colors and HTML, so each time someone applied the corporate blue, it’s the same blue?

And wouldn’t it be great if there was a collection of clean, consistent logos in nearly any digital file format you might need, in color, black and white and grayscale? No more rebuilding, re-using, cutting, stretching and fixing or trying to find a logo for that new document.

And what if the essential brand messages were  on the business cards your staff hands out, or on beautiful posters hanging on the walls of the office, or as banners in the warehouse?

That’s internal brand alignment

Supported by a training program, your staff can engage and embrace the brand’s visual system, and learn and live the brand messages that guide the brand experience. You’ll create brand champions and you’ll ensure the visual elements of the brand are cohesive, consistent and professional.

Internal brand alignment, just one part of brand optimization

Internal brand alignment is one component of Creative Company’s five-point brand optimization methodology. After more than 30 years of building new brands, restaging brands and refreshing existing brand programs, we’ve seen the impact from providing tools and training to enroll the whole organization in both the idea of the brand and the design.

To see examples of the tools and templates we’ve described, click through to the additional links below.

Now … in your organization … Are you frustrated because everyone is doing their own version of the brand? Or do you see personalized versions of day-to-day communications from letters to fax forms? Or is it tough to find a clean logo file when you need one?

We can help

We’ll clean up and organize your existing identity and communications, or work with you to reinvent or refresh the whole system. Give us a call toll-free at 866.363.4433. Or drop me an email.

Meanwhile, explore the value of brand optimization, which builds from your audiences’ points of choice, where they choose to take action. From strategic definition to the visual and verbal brand to implementation at those points of choice, the brand is built to drive ongoing response.

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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