Nearly every company can do better at what we call Invertising, or marketing your company from the inside, out. Invertising works like this: Your people know they are driven by a clear purpose. Your people become happier and perform better. Your people are more and more inspired by your vision, values, and goals, so they always do everything they can to make those a reality.
Just like advertising, Invertising requires deep thought and creativity. And like any marketing program, invertising needs a long-term strategy. First, you have to know your audience and what motivates them — both positively and negatively. Second, you have to involve them. Their insights will make your company smarter and help them buy into the culture you’re building together. This works whether you’re trying to improve customer experience or rebrand the company.
Respect your audience.
Rarely is employee communication handled with equal strategy or seriousness to that of external communication. Time to change that.
Nothing is more empowering than mutual respect and support. And mutual respect and support almost always require a foundation of good, solid, well-delivered communication. Take the opportunity to show your team, not just tell them, how their roles and functions are critically supportive of your brand — and, how your brand supports them in return.
Show them the future.
Paint a clear picture of what’s possible for them when the brand is supported. Maybe that’s happier customers, which leads to more revenue, employee raises and more paid vacation. Better alignment in leadership. More concrete goals and actions by which to reward performance.
Like Southwest, tie employees’ purpose back to the brand purpose, or, to the powerful human needs your brand addresses — connection, control, balance, harmony. Show them how they can make the world better, or even make one person’s day better, every day. Give them greater purpose.
2. Rely on recognition, not rules.
Forget making rules. Rules are easy to get carried away with, and too often, they provide zero guidance on what to actually do. Instead of reactive rule writing, spend time proactively orchestrating ways to move everyone forward by doing the opposite — by highlighting good behavior. Ideally, behavior that lifts up your brand.
3. Make your message more personal.
Identify your internal personas and communicate to each of them purposefully. Leadership and management will be empowered differently than your customer experience team — take the time to think through that, catering your messaging about the brand to each individual audience.
4. Think marathon communication, not sprint-and-stop.
As leaders, it’s easy to overlook the importance of repetition in communication. It can feel redundant, inefficient, and like you’re talking down to your team. C-suite personalities tend to feel like saying something one time means a message has been relayed. A successful invertising campaign, however, is delivered bit by bit, breaking the message down into a lead point or two, with smaller points stacked behind those, all delivered over time with some repetition and with absolute consistency. This helps to reassure everyone that you — and they — are on the right path.
5. Get creative with your delivery.
Marathon communication requires creativity. Once you know the story you’re telling, select a medium to best deliver your story. Maybe it’s an email campaign that delivers a three-part video series. Or maybe everything is delivered verbally, in-person, during three half-hour talks that take place over the course of a month. With your personas in mind, create an outside-the-box channel strategy and really get creative with how you hand over the reins to your brand. The more memorable, the better. Have a blast, and your team will too.