IT ALL STARTS FROM WITHIN : A multi-case study on internal branding
Abstract: Branding is a widely researched and discussed area, but the focus tends to be aimed towards business-to-consumer (B2C) companies rather than business-to-business settings (B2B). Brands per se used to be seen as the visuals belonging to an organization, but there has been a shift in meanings and it now includes perceptions and recognition of a brand - both internally and externally. Internal branding refers to company efforts to influence their employees to live the brand, which is explained as the organizational and managerial efforts to infuse enthusiasm into the employees in order for them to perform their best and to feel connected to the brand and the corporate values. This study focuses on internal branding, more specifically the managerial efforts taken to influence employees. In order to fulfill the purpose, we conducted a multi-case study with eight in-depth semi-structured interviews with two companies. The results show that if an organization and managers have the possibility to connect corporate brand identity and brand values with internal activities, the employees are more likely to show brand commitment, which in turn leads them into living the brand. However, incorporating such activities can be difficult due to various reasons, such as financial limitations, but it was found that managers who are involved and continuously engaging with their employees have a higher probability of making employees live the brand, than the managers who do not have an ongoing dialogue with staff members. Furthermore, it was apparent that internal communication should be a cornerstone of every business’ daily operations as it is a useful internal branding tool, seeing that it can have an impact on the way employees are understanding the brand.
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