Today I came across a very good article on BusinessWeek.com titled "Don't Neglect Internal Branding" by Steve McKee, which is a great reminder that delivering a great brand experience begins with communicating what your brand stands for INSIDE the organization. The best brands are built on a company culture that involves everyone in the brand experience - not just the marketing department. But building that culture and keeping everyone in the loop can be a challenge, especially with large or geographically diverse organizations.
Howard Schultz of Starbucks made headlines recently by closing all of their locations for a company-wide meeting that focused on helping every employee to understand and deliver the Starbucks Brand Experience. One-time "big events" like that are great for rallying the troops, but what about a week, a month or a year from now? Internal branding has to be more than just a one-time event. It also needs to involve on-going communication of the company's values, culture and brand promise to its employees and stakeholders.
What better medium for that on-going Internal Branding is there than swag? Emails get deleted, company memos get filed away, meetings are soon forgotten... but that coffee mug with the company's mission statement is a daily, visible reminder of what your company brand stands for. Lapel pins, mouse pads, sticky notes, calendars and pens are all great, inexpensive swag ideas for carrying internal branding messages throughout your organization in a highly visible way.
Simply distributing swag items internally to remind employees of the key points of your brand promise is one way to keep everyone on board. To kick it up a notch, consider creating contests where those who are delivering the brand promise receive a special, exclusive gift of swag. A distinctive company-logo jacket, duffel bag, padfolio or travel mug would all be great rewards for this sort of internal branding initiative.
One last point I want to make about swag and internal branding, and that is the importance of employee morale - especially in trying times like these. If your company isn't rewarding people with raises or bonuses this year, giving appropriate and useful gifts is one way to show your appreciation.
LOOKING FOR SWAG IDEAS FOR YOUR INTERNAL BRANDING?
Swag Connection is here to help you. Here are two ways to get good swag ideas - browse our catalog library or use our searchable product database on SwagConnection.com. Better yet, contact us and tell us about your needs and budget - we'll come up with great ideas that work for you.
Phone: 866-247-4320 Email: Sales@Swagconnection.com
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