How a strong brand helps us engage with our team and boost our internal culture.
Branding isn’t just about how a business is seen from the outside. It’s key to connecting to customers, but our first and most important customers are always our employees. (After all, as business author and speaker Simon Sinek says,“customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”)
At designstripe, we’ve used our brand to rally our team around a common cause, and bring people together across oceans. Here are six ways our internal culture benefits from a strong brand.
1. Steadfast employee engagement
When a team believes in their business and the products and services they’re selling, they turn into brand advocates, an incredibly valuable asset; according to LinkedIn, people are three times more likely to trust information coming from an employee compared to a CEO.
At designstripe, we make sure that all the merch we create not only looks great but also expresses our brand values, as they guide everything we do—the first crew neck we made for our staff was a celebration of our international team. When we wear our values on our sleeves, literally, it helps us keep them front and centre, where they belong.
2. A roadmap for innovation
A well-defined brand strategy is a roadmap, and can guide all aspects of a business from market research and product development to the checkout process and customer service. With this roadmap in hand, the whole team knows what customers want, both now and in the future. It also, provides clarity on where to allocate resources, and which projects to prioritize or deprioritize—do we need to expand our target audience, or do we just need to talk more to our existing one?
A cohesive, comprehensive brand identity can help employees better understand customer expectations autonomously, giving them agency to improve customer experience at every point in their journey. For us, design is how we communicate that roadmap to our entire team: it’s clear, it’s consistent, and everyone knows where we’re heading.
3. Clear, consistent internal communication
A clear, consistent and appealing brand voice gives confidence and clarity to the team. It improves communication and collaboration, and makes people feel like they’re all on the same page, working towards a common goal. The designstripe brand is at the heart of our monthly town halls, which are all about sharing progress and celebrating what’s new. But we always link it back to our core values, whether that means holding ourselves accountable on deliverables or being straight up about challenges we’re facing. Basically, we designed these meetings so that we’re continuously centering the brand and talking about our what really matters to us regularly, instead of once a year.
4. Unified, amplified external communication
It’s easy for the team to communicate—share news, wins and events, engage with customers and other brands—when they can speak with a unified voice and a well-defined tone. (It’s even easier with a versatile, easy-to-use, on-brand social template.) A strong, coherent brand enables us to focus our messaging across channels so that it can build on itself and amplify while giving team members a license to bring the brand to life in every interaction they have. It also gives people the tools to come together, celebrate success and take pride in their achievements.
5. A tool for recruitment and retention
Whether it’s actively, intentionally managed or not, every company has an employer brand—how it’s seen by current employees and job seekers—and it’s key to retaining and recruiting top talent. A Glassdoor report found that 75 percent of applicants are more likely to apply to a company with an actively managed employer brand, and that’s something we’ve seen first-hand at designstripe. (One team member sums it up thusly: “I’ve never worked anywhere that received so many spontaneous applications.”) Bolster an employer brand through authentic employee advocacy (see #1 above), recognizable, relatable content that promotes company culture, and a clear articulation of the brand’s mission and values.
6. It sets a standard
A well-thought-out, beautifully executed brand sets a standard for external projects and gives employees an idea of the level of excellence to which they should aspire. This can be especially helpful to newer businesses and those experiencing rapid growth. We use internal projects and passion projects to illustrate up close how a deep understanding of our business’ mission and demographic can be articulated through design. The brand itself can set the standard for every new project the team starts.
Turning a business into a brand
By taking the time to develop a brand identity and communicate it to the team, we’re getting buy-in on our business’ core mission and values from the people who matter most. From there, brand values can permeate from the very core (and on the very sleeves) of the company. To help you and your team build a strong brand and a suite of distinctive, shareable assets, designstripe offers a library of customizable illustrations, in-browser mockups, and, soon, a social templates tool. We can equip you with the tools you need to build the brand you and your team want.