We probably all understand that communicating with colleagues is important. But when it comes to internal communication, have you considered your suppliers? Whether it’s printers, marketing agencies, designers, packaging companies or fulfilment houses, when they’re working for you, they represent your business. It’s your job to make sure they represent it in the right way.
A brand in marketing is very important. It showcases who you are as a company and what you stand for. We all know brands that we trust and are loyal to, just as we all know brands that we don’t like very much. But love them or hate them, branding only ever works when we feel something. And it’s only possible to get that emotional connection if there’s consistency. If the colour, symbols, words, tone and general feel of a company constantly changes, it makes it hard for people to connect with it. And that means you lose the power of branding.
If consistency is therefore vital for customer connection, your brand needs guarding. Someone within your company must be responsible for the brand, and I’d encourage them to create some brand guidelines.
Brand guidelines don’t need to be complicated. They just need to share simple details, such as what the logo and colour scheme are and how they should be used. For example, if you have both colour and black and white versions of your logo, make sure everyone understands what to use and when. The last thing you want is someone printing the colour version of your logo using black ink as they weren’t aware of the options. That could render very different results, but it happens.
If you have a Pantone colour, this could also be the perfect place to put it. This will mean you’ll only need to share one previously created document with people rather than digging out the colour scheme every time someone asks.
You might also have a strapline that could be included, or a certain minimum height you’d like your logo to always appear in. You should also include tone and feel and make it clear to anyone who works with your brand exactly what you expect. It might sound pedantic, but the clearer a brand is, the more professional you’ll look and the better people will be able to connect with you. It’s what every big brand in the world does, so why as a small company wouldn’t you protect your brand in just the same way?
As well as your brand, it’s vital to share your key marketing messages or campaign information with relevant parties. Have you ever seen an advert on the telly or online saying this promotion is running in store, yet when you get to the shop they haven’t got a clue what the promotion is about. Or they don’t know if they can accept that coupon as they’ve never heard about it before. This is a classic example of Head Office having a great idea and it not filtering down to the customer facing people.
Even if you’re a small business, what you do in marketing shouldn’t stay inside of your head. Encourage those who work with you to take an interest, encourage them to offer ideas and feedback, and get them to like and share your social media posts. Collaboration helps marketing so much, so keep communicating what you’re doing to everyone who matters.
You might already send out internal communications that make people aware of what you’re doing, but do you also tell them why you’re doing it? This simple extra level of detail can make a vast difference.
What made you come up with the idea and how do you see it working? What are the results you’re hoping to achieve? The more people understand something, the more they value it.
Having those within or working with your business pushing your marketing forward can only be a good thing.
We all know that marketing communication is important, but don’t just focus on your customers. Make sure those in your inner circle are just as up to speed.