What can Sim City teach us about our internal brands? Investment in infrastructure is always a smart move. Cities know it. Civil engineers understand it. Without strong infrastructure, things start to crumble.
If you've ever played Sim City, you know that without a rock-solid infrastructure and fab quality of life, the Sims get cranky and restless. It can happen fast. They revolt. They strike. They will probably leave.
Cultivating and nurturing a well-branded internal culture should be viewed the same way.
I'm not suggesting that you simply spiff up your employee lounge and hand out holiday hams. Your employees want—and deserve—better. Your brand deserves better.
Start by thinking about what your brand stands for to the outside world—your ultimate customers. Take a minute and think about it. Now, what does it stand for inside—and how do the two fit together?
To our clients, MB Piland stands for absolute excellence, integrity, crazy-good creative, high growth and style with substance. We have very high standards, and we have fun. Oh—and we're pink. We strive to stand for those same things for our internal customers: our employees and strategic partners.
What are some of the ways we live the brand internally?
- Attending creative workshops outside the office.
- A stylish, creative (and very pink) workspace filled with art and light and music. (And yes, we're updating it right now to be even better.)
- We don't take shortcuts: reviews are conducted on time and we give regular feedback.
- I don't take special perqs that others don't get.
- We use the word "groovy" to represent that secret sauce that is "us." Our iChat handles are such names as GroovyAlex and GroovyMichelle.
- When we have a birthday party, it's themed, super creative and designed to make the honoree feel very, very special.
- We have scheduled sessions to swap ideas and new favorite apps.
- We (respectfully) discuss politics, religion, current events, movies and big ideas at random break times.
- We have an annual fun judging of holiday cards we've received. It's become a tradition! (See more on our Facebook page.)
These are just some of the things we do. It's a mix of HR best practices and our own uniquely developed rituals that make us—well—us. They are the heart and soul of the MB Piland brand.
They're more than just activities designed to create employee satisfaction and retention. They make our brand authentic from the inside out.
Sure, we could cut out some of these things. But that would be just like putting up a road detour or living with congested traffic instead of building a beautiful new bridge that's the gateway to our city.
And that's what you ultimately want: a gateway to your brand that's full of WOW. That brings crowds of happy employees, and happy customers, too.