Intake Blog

Keeping Your Internal Brand Dynamic

posted September 25, 2012 by

It’s in our nature to seek the one-stop solution to things. You see commercials selling the “only cream you’ll ever need to fights all signs of blemish, aging and environmental damage,” or printed on a best-selling self-help book cover, “the one thing you need to know to become successful.” We want the answers to all our questions and we want it quick.

In this same vein, if a client were to ask me, “what is the one thing I need know in order to communicate successfully?” I would most likely say, “consistency in your messaging.” I believe when you’re consistent in the messages you’re sending out to your organization around an issue or change, you come across as honest and credible. This applies to our personal brand as well. When the messages we’re putting out through our words and actions are consistent, we’re seen as reliable and trust-worthy.

But a fascinating article I recently read on FastCo. Design, took this idea to the next level. Author Marc Shillum writes in this article entitled, “Branding Is About Creating Patterns, Not Repeating Messages,”

“Consistency is still at the heart of a brand’s value, but in this fluid and agile world, repetition cannot be the only rule.”

“Consistency in human behavior is not derived from repetition alone; it is about the formation and recognition of coherent patterns.”

“Creating a believable and consistent brand begins with the creation of coherent patterns.”

You can find the full article here

As corporate communicators, we should not limit ourselves to developing static messages that are pulled out of brand values and promises. This is not to take away from the importance of such brand strategy elements – they are there to lay crucial groundwork. However, internal communication channels are becoming more interactive these days – aside from traditional newsletters and intranet articles, we’re seeing blogs, commenting functions, message boards and status updates as the new norm. As Shillum describes in his article, “This requires that a brand’s ‘identity’ should not only be defined statically…but also…behaviorally through interactions.”

As long as it fits with you company’s values, allow for employees to customize what messages they receive internally and how receive them (customizable intranet landing page, opt-in/opt-out of email lists, etc.) and allow for organic conversations among employees around an issue or change (enable commenting, create internal communities with discuss boards, etc.). While I usually avoid this overused phrase, allow for “freedom within the framework.” Such flexibility will assure employees of two-way communications; that leadership is open to dialogue instead of pushing down approved key messages.