One of the themes at this year’s B2B marketing conference in Chicago (BMA 2014) was the growing value advertisers place on internal stakeholders and their own employees when it comes to creating marketing communications.
What took so long?
The internal audience is likely the most underappreciated target market of them all. I roll my eyes because I’ve been singing this psalm for almost as long as I’ve been in advertising. Whenever a company produces a piece of marketing – particularly in the realm of branding – it simply must consider its employees. And not just a little. I’d argue first and foremost.
As many of my colleagues will tell you, I have a short list of marketing truths I hold to be self-evident. My absolute favorite is the idea that a branding campaign is the company’s jersey. Ergo every employee should feel comfortable putting it on. Better yet, the wearer should be fired up, ready to represent the firm. Every morning, when an employee enters the parking lot, he or she should be made proud (at least somewhat) by the company’s colors, theme and logo.
The same way your university has a poetic uniform, your place of business has one too (or it should). If you agree with me on this point, then the key question is do you dig your jersey? Are you the Fighting Irish or are you the Peoria Pissants?
Ask yourself: Does my jersey make me look like a player? When I arrive at work every morning, does my company’s logo on the door fire me up?
Answer affirmatively and your brand is likely in a good place or has a reasonable chance at getting to one. If a jersey is just “meh,” how can anyone expect the people wearing it to do a good job – let alone a great one?
As a creative director, I like using the above argument when trying to sell new campaigns to clients because it reframes the branding discussion into one that is more humanly relevant than, say, the marketing funnel or other left-brain algebra. It also forces the decision-maker to look at his or her brand from an insider’s point of view.
When we exalt the CMO as a quarterback or coach, and provide this person new and improved uniforms for the team, he or she is hopefully not going to demand blander. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen. But rallying employees is a powerful motivator.
As we know, corporations are acting and speaking more and more like human beings, establishing presences on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. That voice needs to come from a place of confidence. In addition, companies are feeling pressure to be real, authentic and just plain good. These cues can and should be telegraphed internally. They are the “glow from within.”
Steffan Postaer – Executive Creative Director, gyro San Francisco
As ECD at gyro I’m responsible for elevating the creative product across a broad range of B2B and technology clients, a niche I have been focusing on for over ten years.
A copywriter by trade, I created the “Curiously Strong Mints” campaign for Altoids. Earlier in my career I also co-wrote “Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile” for GM.
I love reading, writing, running and visceral horror movies, especially the zombie apocalypse.
I have three daughters, two dogs and a loving wife who mostly tolerates my fetish for visceral horror movies.
My long-running blog, Gods of Advertising has become popular with a worldwide audience.
Follow Steffan @steffan1