Utilising reward & recognition to reinforce brand values

Corporate branding is vital in any organisation, it’s what differentiates you from the competition. To be successful, corporate branding requires consistency between how management define the brand, what their employees believe about the brand, and how their clients perceive the organisation.

Do your employees understand what your company values are? They should do – they are your public face, and brands should be built from the inside out. If they don’t get it, it is unlikely your clients will, so don’t underestimate your employee’s power in building the brand.

You need to ensure that your external and internal company values are in sync with each other and promoted accordingly, as inconsistency will devalue your brand. A study by the Canadian Marketing Association on internal branding suggests that this can be conducted via a number of processes, including:

• Internal communications
• Training
• Leadership practices
• Recruitment practices
• Reward and recognition schemes

Let’s focus on reward and recognition. The theme and core messages of such initiatives can be used to promote the brand, through the choice of colours, pictures and even fonts. The program can reinforce and encourage company values, by rewarding employees against these values. This encourages employees to ‘live the brand’. The way the program is communicated can also reflect the brand – if you wish to be perceived as innovative and modern then your internal communications should follow suit. Even the rewards themselves can reinforce the brand. If employees are rewarded purely with cash, this may send the wrong message as to what the company thinks is important.

Orange is a good example of a company promoting their brand through their reward and recognition scheme. After realising their staff were unsure as to what the company stood for, they focused on internal branding, with the aim of attracting and retaining staff. They rebranded their internal reward and recognition program to promote their company values – for example, anything to do with rewards used trees in the imagery. According to Orange, this gives staff visual prompts of Orange’s key USPs and brand identity.

So make sure you focus on promoting your brand internally as well as externally and you will reap the rewards through customer perception and employee loyalty.

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