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Opinion: 4 reasons to invest in internal branding

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Last month, I attended the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Manufacturing Outlook. I wasn’t surprised to hear a decent amount of the panel’s time focused on workforce attraction and retention. New equipment, cross-training positions, flexible schedules, higher salaries, better benefits and promoting from within were all discussed.

However, little was mentioned about the importance of having a strong internal brand to help alleviate workforce challenges – a common trend among many business-to-business industries. Over the last two years, we’ve created more than 10 times the number of hiring campaigns than in the previous decade combined. These last two years have been eye-opening regarding the importance of a strong internal brand.

What has been most revealing is the effectiveness of the hiring campaigns for companies with a strong and authentic brand.

Internal branding
Manufacturing companies often have many employees who may not have direct interactions with customers. An internal branding strategy helps ensure all associates, regardless of their role, understand the company’s mission and values as well as feel connected to the company’s purpose. This connection helps create a positive, cohesive culture which leads to increased employee satisfaction and engagement. Internal branding also helps improve communication and collaboration within the company – especially important in industries where there may be a high degree of specialization and need for collaboration.

By promoting a common set of values and a shared understanding of the company’s goals, internal branding can help facilitate better teamwork and more effective problem-solving, which is beneficial for attracting and retaining top talent. Companies that are known for having a strong culture and a clear sense of purpose are often more attractive to potential employees.

Survey says
According to a recent survey by Glassdoor, company culture is the No. 1 factor job seekers consider when evaluating offers – by 84% of respondents.

Another study by Deloitte learned that companies with a strong employer brand are three times more likely to attract top talent, and they also have a 25% lower employee turnover rate. Employees who feel connected to their company’s values and mission are more likely to feel a sense of purpose and belonging within the organization, leading to enhanced job satisfaction and motivation.

The investment
I see four reasons why companies don’t invest in branding:

  1. Lack of awareness or understanding. Often companies are simply unaware of the benefits of internal branding and the role it plays in attraction and retention. Or they may not grasp how to implement such plans.
  2. Limited resources. Internal branding can require a significant investment of time and resources, and some organizations may not have the budget to devote to it.
  3. Short-term focus. Others may be more focused on short-term gains and may not see the value in investing in internal branding and its long-term benefits.
  4. Limited support from leadership. Internal branding initiatives may require buy-in and support from leadership, and if it is not present, initiatives can be difficult to implement.

Here are four reasons why they should invest in internal branding:

  1. Improved satisfaction and pride. A clear sense of purpose and direction, as well as a positive work environment, can make employees feel more valued and motivated, resulting in higher retention rates.
  2. Enhanced reputation. A positive internal brand can help improve the company’s reputation as a great place to work, making it easier to attract talent. This factor is particularly important in today’s competitive job market where employees have many options to choose from.
  3. Greater employee engagement. An internal brand strategy that clearly communicates the company’s values and goals can help employees understand how their work contributes to the overall success of the organization.
  4. Improved retention. When employees feel connected to and invested in their company, they are more likely to stay long term. An internal brand strategy that fosters a sense of belonging and purpose can help improve retention rates.

With all the economic stressors businesses are dealing with, investing in a strategy with results that can seem hard to measure may appear to be a nonstarter. However, a clearly defined, strategically implemented internal brand marketing campaign can be an extremely effective tool in solving today’s unique staffing issues.

Chris Jarratt is chief creative officer and co-founder of Revel Advertising, specializing in the strategic development, design and stewardship of brands. He can be reached at chris@reveladvertising.com.

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