By Anica Oaks
Companies today are more aware of branding than they ever have been before. Yet, too often businesses do not focus on how internal operations can influence their brand. The fact is that internal factors may have more of an impact on company brand than external forces.
Probably the largest influence on brand is the personnel within a company. Consumers develop perceptions of a company after just one interaction with personnel. Therefore, if the personnel of a company do not provide service that is consistent with the brand the company wants to convey, consumers will not perceive the branding as factual.
For example, if part of a company’s branding is that they provide outstanding customer service, yet customers find it difficult to reach anyone when they have a question, or personnel at the company are unable to answer even simple questions, the company is not being factual in their branding. By the same token, a company should also promote their brand internally to personnel so that employees understand the message the company is trying to send to the consumer.
Although a brand name is the driver for building brand equity, every action of a company can have an influence on the brand as well. If the actions of a company are judged as negative, branding can take on a negative connotation as well. A car maker that ignores safety issues in a vehicle that leads to multiple deaths or injuries could damage the brand of the car as consumers will not see them as safety-conscious.
The BP oil spill is an example of a company whose branding was damaged, not because the oil spill occurred, but because there were reports that the company cut corners at the expense of safety, and because they did not address the significant damage caused by the spill after the fact.
Core Values and Company Culture
It is critical that a company link their core values to their branding. As part of those core values, a company culture is developed. Often, core values are not written or even specifically defined, but are built over time through the actions of employees and the products or services provided. Factors such as trustworthiness, product quality and behavior are all examples of core values that build a company culture, and all of these factors affect company branding.
Products and Services
Other than employees, the products and services produced by a company have the most influence on branding. It is products and services that stakeholders come in contact with, so if the product or service delivered does not meet the stakeholders’ expectations, branding can be affected.
If a product is not of the quality that the brand portrays, it can damage the brand image. It is something drilled into almost every student with a master’s in strategic project management that the product and the brand must agree. If they do not, customers will be confused and the brand image will suffer.
Although there are additional internal factors such as the owner or manager and the stakeholders themselves that can influence branding for a company, these are four of the most critical topics for business owners who want to be sure they are marketing their company properly.
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.