By Adrian Swinscoe, Director, RARE Business

Great customer service starts with internal branding, that’s what I believe. On my blog I talk quite a lot about customer service problems and how many of these problems, I believe, originate in the misalignment of what the company is aiming to stand for (its brand) and how that is mirrored internally (your internal brand). When these two things don’t match it can cause problems and lead to issues with customers and employee behaviour.

When we talk about growing a business, marketing, customer service or a business’ brand, the reality is that it all starts from the inside and works its way out into the market. To create a strong, sustainable business it has to. Ask yourself these questions: Does your team support and believe in the products or services that you are offering? Is everybody behind all that you do and and striving to achieve and believe in? Are they embodiment of your brand and company values?

It’s essential that your team are involved and engaged in what is going on in your companies. If your team are not behind your growth and marketing initiatives it can have detrimental results.

In addition, embracing the idea of internal branding and integrating that into everything you do can lead to all sorts of benefits, including:

- Lower staff turnover and longer tenure;

- Employees that understand the brand promise are better able to serve customers and respond to issues;

- Engaged employees who believe in the brand are more productive.

However, the most important element is that when your team become champions of your brand, they themselves become a key point of differentiation for you, which is very hard for your competitors to copy. So, its your employees that can give you the edge.

One company, Zappos.com, are renowned for their employees and how they are the difference between them and their competition and what drives their huge level of repeat business, fantastic customer service and rapid growth. In this video, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos explains that their internal brand starts with their culture.

In sum, when a company’s internal brand is aligned with its external brand, the relationship between the brand, the customers and each other is better. This will result in better service, better results and better internal relations.

So, what do you think? Have you found instances when a company's brand is not aligned with its internal brand? Or, is your internal brand aligned with your external brand? Let me know your thoughts and comments.

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