HR’s role in brand building

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HR’s role in brand building

Creating an emotional and tangible or functional connection between employees and your brand cannot be achieved through internal memos, posters and the odd town hall meeting. Also, one can find that after an initial launch, excitement fizzles out into same old behaviour. 

Building an internal brand gives HR a wonderful opportunity to refresh its role in a company. 

Why HR? 

Brands are about people. Your people. Although huge amounts are spent on articulating the brand externally, the acceptance of your brand promise will always come down to how people experience your brand. And that experience is created by your people. It follows that your people need a clear understanding about their particular roles in influencing the customer experience, which forms the brand. 

In helping HR to build the brand internally, Sherpa would typically follow a 5 Point process. 

1. Brand accuracy.
As brand strategists, Sherpa is able to sit down with Marketing and Brand and quickly understand the essence of the brand. This means that there will be consistency and alignment between what Marketing is trying to present externally and what HR needs to embed internally. 

2. Internal brand strategy
Typical of any strategy, your internal brand strategy must have objectives and the “how” you are going to achieve those aims.  Ideally, we would like to see the internal brand strategy contributing to areas such as increased profitability, greater client retention, more talent joining the company, enhanced satisfaction levels of employees etc.  

3. Your workplace as the market.
When you set out to engage with your people about your brand, you need to be as serious as Marketing is when trying to connect with an external audience.   Presentations, posters and communications will all form part of getting your brand message across to your employees. But in the same way that a one-off marketing campaign is unlikely to yield results externally, your internal brand communications requires frequency and relevance. It must excite, delight and ignite your employees, making them feel as important as clients. Use an agency like Sherpa which understands what it takes. Technology (reach). Design (excite). Copywriting (connect). PR (influence).  And social media. Here, we refer more to seeing your workplace as a natural word-of-mouth platform where people share what is being presented. 

4. Living the brand
Crunch time!  

All of the above has no purpose unless your brand becomes part of everyday thinking in the business.    This is the point where things normally go back to same-old and Marketing have to go it alone without the considerable support of their army, the employees. 

We accept that we have to create the sizzle and reach discussed in points 2 and 3 but we also need to get people living the brand. We do this through coaching and guiding. For example, we would sit down with HR as a department and work with you on finding ways as to how HR can live the brand, moving something intangible into practical and tangible actions. And we do this throughout the organisation. Sooner or later, the aggregation of many actions start creating a powerful internal brand. 

You will also find that interdepartmental tensions, politics and agendas start losing relevance as your company, externally and internally, finds new meaning and purpose – one rallying point, your brand! 

5. Building momentum and measuring
In the same way that the external Agency continues to build the brand in the marketplace, Sherpa continues to work with HR – and where need be, Marketing – to retain continuity and momentum, honing in on the objectives set out in the Internal Brand Strategy. 

The objectives of the Internal Brand Strategy are relatively easy to measure. Along the way, we’ll be looking at communications analytics which tell a story of their own. You will find that the world’s most-admired brand have, for example, high click through rates (65% up) on communications. 

At a time where the economy is tight and perhaps closing in, it makes sense to use your people – who you are already paying – to build your brand and in the process, unite your organisation.    


Gary Hendrickse 
CEO Sherpa 

Contact to find out how Sherpa’s refreshing and practical approach.

Sherpa Brand & Design Agency
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