Brand is a promise your organization makes to customers. It’s the reputation your organization has – among employees, customers, partners and the community at large. Your brand is the special essence of your organization — how it delivers service, what people feel like when interacting with your employees and how people feel using your product.
Brand permeates your entire organization – not just customer service and product management – but everyone. How employees are treating each other is just as critical as how they’re interacting with customers.
It’s why it’s so important to ensure employees understand what makes the organization special. They should know the values your organization relishes so they can behave accordingly. In fact, your brand is counting on it.
How do people understand brand?
Through interactions with other employees, observing how leaders behave, training and through your intranet.
On your intranet, it should be virtually everywhere – from company news to your organization goals to the recognition site, your metrics …. Your brand is on every page.
Why is it important to ensure your intranet is branded?
Many intranets have a section devoted to the brand guidelines – sometimes called Brand Central – with information about colors, typography, logos, voice and tone, taglines, etc. That’s important. It helps people understand how to use the visual and textual elements correctly, including how to refer to your organization outside the company.
But your brand is really based on how your employees are living it — providing services, developing products, taking customer calls, handling bills and more. These behaviors include how they answer phone calls with customers, how they conduct meetings and how they interact online.
That’s why on your intranet it’s critical to demonstrate the brand.
Your values and culture
The values are the traits your employees exhibit to protect and live the brand.
Every organization has values, but they differ from organization to organization. Think about the characteristics of how your intranet should operate that meet those needed values.
For example, if you care about people – are people on nearly every page? Do you have recognition spotlighted on the home page? Are your customers on the home page, too – where employees can get to know them? Are there places to socialize and share information? If innovation is critical to your organization – is it easy to collaborate with others – sharing ideas on the fly, real-time? Do people know the cool products and services you’re working on? Can they contribute ideas from the home page?
Your culture is even about ensuring people understand what they’re supposed to be doing, how they meet organizational goals, how they’re progressing and how they can continue their career online.
At a minimum, your intranet should embrace your culture and brand through the following:
- Include organizational information – what the brand is, why it’s important, as well as the mission, vision, goals and values. This should also include your leaders, your organization’s history with important moments, the products and services you provide and general organizational charts.
- Highlight how employees are progressing on those goals.
- Show employees living your brand and values – exhibiting what all employees should be doing – through recognition and news. Enable employees to give each other kudos, too. Use pictures of them.
- Demonstrate how employees are impacting customers’ lives. This helps employees know who they’re serving and why. It feeds their sense of purpose.
- Make it easy for every employee to find the right information – resources, locations, policies, etc. – as well as each other.
- Encourage employees to connect, share and collaborate, including asking questions even to leaders. Highlight great questions in other places, too – like your news.
- Give employees information about what’s happening in the world around them that relates to the company through news and leader blogs. Understanding changes in the industry and how it impacts your organization gives decisions made relevance.
- Provide training and videos online – about the brand, about the values you want them to exhibit, etc.
- Make all-employee meetings and other big meetings available online, where people can interact as necessary.
- Get leaders to share what brings the brand to life through blogs and your company news. Also, show them demonstrating how they’re living the brand.
- Use your intranet to onboard employees, giving them personal experiences that make them feel welcome and coordinate to other activities – through email or in person.
- Create sections for groups of employees – departments, teams, employees with specific titles (such as managers) and those who are new to the organization – where they can collaborate and mentor each other.
- Show how your organization is helping the community and how employees are part of it – their donations and their time. Connect that to your organization’s reputation – how its winning business or awards its receiving for good works.
- Ensure people understand and can access the basics, online – benefits, perks (such as gym memberships), pay, etc.
- Make it clear how employees can develop at the organization and their overall careers – which positions are open, what the process is for applying, general salary information, how to earn promotions, training available, etc.
- Celebrate success online – new business, projects completed on time and on-budget, promotions, product launches, innovation, money saved and happy customers. If your company is people-focused, you might even be celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, retirements and new employees. If it’s gravitating toward innovation, then maybe you want to spotlight good ideas and how teams are working together.
- Provide information about your recruiting efforts through referral programs. It not only provides transparency, but the organization will get more dedicated and better quality employees.
- Communicate, transparently, organizational failure – what happened, why it happened – openly to help employees learn and prevent future issues.
Every organization is different. But by thinking through how your organization is bringing your brand to life through its intranet, you’ll ensure employees understand your brand and values. Better still, they’ll live your brand and values.