It’s interesting to me that many of the brands I’ve had the opportunity to explore from the inside, often suffer a disconnect between the external brand, and how the company looks and feels under the hood. Building brand authenticity starts at the core of the company. The mission, the values, the personality attributes, should be inspired by a top-down leadership model, and fostered from the bottom up through an internal communication narrative. For when a brand aligns internal culture and external messaging, employees have a stronger sense of value recognition. And when values align, good things happen.
In January I’m kicking off a new research project on how organizations can effectively communicate enhanced meaning intervention (aka happiness) through mediated technology. In laymen’s terms, I’m asking the question of how we can increase value alignment, social connection and a sentiment of meaningful work through social media, internal portals and transmedia storytelling. Put into practice, the 3-foot stack of research on my desk suggests that companies can enjoy enhanced organizational commitment, increased employee engagement and slurry of other fabulous kickbacks around creativity, innovation and productivity.
Fortunately, the idea of increased happiness in the workforce is not a theory that starts with me. One of my mentors, a professor of marketing at Stanford University, encouraged me to dive into the growing research and consider how we can disseminate this knowledge into mediated content.
The end result will no doubt point towards what Nike has done to develop their internal portal to increase employee connection to the brand. Or perhaps what Zappos has created via YouTube to tell the story of how they inject autonomy, fun and weirdness into their workday.
Here’s a clip on Professor Aaker’s ideas about branding from the inside out, as well as a goofy (yet authentic) story from the Zappos workforce.