B2B brand launches: why your most important audience is internal
In B2B marketing, we love a bit of net new logo acquisition. ABM, funnels, metrics, CTAs and CPAs.
Nothing wrong with all that.
But there’s often a valuable target audience that B2B marketers completely lose sight of. There’s one scenario when this audience is also the most important one. As the title of the post points out – when you do a rebrand, before you launch externally – spend resources internally.
And it’s important to do it properly.
Internal comms is often woeful. The odd email, a chief executive officer message if you’re lucky. And it’s been made a lot harder by WFH. The stats are pretty shocking – showing employees feel out of touch with what’s going on, often disengaged, and there are also clearly researched links with how this affects company performance:
74% of employees think they are missing out on company news
72% of employees don't have a full understanding of the company's strategy
Only 23% of executives say that their companies are excellent at aligning employees’ goals with corporate purposes
An Ark Group survey of chief executive officers found ‘effective internal communication’ as the critical factor in delivering good employee engagement by almost 95% of those surveyed (unsurprisingly). But worryingly, only 22% thought it was being delivered.
But get your brand right internally and the stats become pretty compelling:
A strong brand reduces cost per hire by 50% and typically delivers 50% more qualified applicants.
Organizations with effective change and communication programs are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers.
So, making internal comms effective means focusing as hard as you would for an external campaign.
Make a plan just as you would for an external campaign: objectives, audience, messaging, tactics, KPIs, timeline – the full works.
Audience profiling: are there any identifiable segments (eg big development team not part of the mainstream organisation, customer service team who get the most stress from customer complaints etc)? Bearing in mind front line staff will be the face and the experience of the new brand.
Senior stakeholder involvement – this is a great opportunity to engage with execs and get them to be more visible internally, and part of delivering the brand story they’ve been part of inputting.
Regular cadence: not just a one off ‘launch’. You won’t embed your new brand story or change behaviours overnight – the internal comms task is about long-term sustained activity – it’s about change management. So think about what you’re going to on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual basis.
The opportunity for B2B marketers
Too often, nobody owns the internal comms function. It sometimes sits loosely in HR, it is sometimes an add-on for marketing.
My belief is that internal comms is a great opportunity for B2B marketers to drive the internal agenda and also forge a closer working relationship with HR. By working with internal HR stakeholders to align to people objectives and culture, marketing can lead on strategy, messaging and tactics.
And, let’s be super clear – internal comms will deliver great ‘external’ outcomes.
Because if you can get your new positioning and brand story embedded with every employee you’ve just exponentially increased your marketing firepower – with no extra budget needed.
Let’s take a very realistic scenario:
Imagine you’re a B2B brand with 1,000 employees.
Let’s reasonably assume that 20% of these employees are in some way customer facing and active on LinkedIn (and not just looking for jobs).
And then let’s say they’ve got an average LinkedIn following of 250 people.
If you create a great new brand video, and share it internally and across social channels, then your bought in employees would share it with 50,000 people. That’s a pretty decent audience reach for zero media spend.
So it’s time to do our branding campaigns and launches justice – by starting with the audience you need most to make this a success.
Chris Wilson, managing director, Earnest
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Earnest is the award-winning B2B marketing agency that’s chasing out the humdrum in London and New York.Find out more