Jun 29, 2015
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How Communications Can Help Ensure Successful Adoption of a New Internal Brand

I’ve been in the communications profession for about 15 years, and it’s humbling when you get to a point where people start asking you to come speak about what it is you do and how you’ve done it, and to share that knowledge with their organization. On one hand, it’s validating, but it’s also extremely humbling because there are so many talented people who do so many great things. That being said, I thought it would make sense to share a few highlights from some of the presentations I’ve done:

If you would like to hear more about some of these discussions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Now, on to internal branding…a topic that many people are interested in hearing more about. At Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), we were fortunate enough to do some award-winning work in this space. In 2012, we received recognition from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) at the Europe/Middle East/Africa level as well as at the international level for multi-audience communication, brand communication, and employee/member communication. Specifically, it was for the work we did to launch our employee value proposition (EVP), Connect Grow Win.

Our EVP journey actually began in 2010 when we completed the transaction with The Coca-Cola Company where they purchased CCE’s North American business, and we purchased Coke’s Norwegian and Swedish bottlers. This allowed us to create a much smaller organization that was focused strictly on Western Europe.

One of the challenges we faced was to make sure we were engaged with employees and giving them a sense of how what they do connects with the overall strategy of the organization. We had to be clear about our commitment to the deal that we offer employees as part of the benefit of working at CCE. That’s what the EVP is…a “contract” with an employer that says if you come to work with this organization, here’s what you can expect to get in exchange for all the great work you do. There’s actually research from Towers Watson that says companies with an employee value proposition have higher shareholder value and they are better at adapting to change.

Our Total Rewards team did some work to articulate how they set up benefits offerings that really do connect to what matters most to employees. As part of that, the team learned what people value – what was important to them. We then partnered with the Total Rewards team to position those findings as a broader EVP and use it as an internal brand that stretched across the entire employee experience…from recruitment to on-boarding to working at the company to leaving the organization.

Our EVP, Connect Grow Win, says that if you come to work at CCE, you’ll have the chance to: connect with fellow employees, with your manager, and with the world’s most powerful brand; grow personally and professionally; and win when the company wins. To make sure this wasn’t just a stand-alone brand, we integrated it across the entire experience so that everything we communicated about (benefits, performance, learning and development, values, etc.) had a linkage to the Connect Grown Win branding, messaging, and framework; but equally, when we introduced it into the organization, we aligned it with our employee engagement strategy.

Our employee engagement strategy is part of the overall framework that shows how, at that point, our global strategic framework had a strategic priority on people, which was about us attracting, developing, and retaining a highly talented and diverse workforce. For us, the commitment that we made to the employees we hired is the Connect Grow Win experience. We then used our employee engagement summary to measure our progress and how well we held up our end of the bargain on that commitment. The outcome of that was our employee engagement rating.

We introduced the Connect Grow Win framework as part of our engagement strategy, giving people lots of materials like videos and brochures that walked them through what the brand meant and what they could expect to see within CCE as a result of that commitment. To ensure a long life for the brand, we inextricably linked engagement and our employee value proposition. We did some other creative things to really give power and endurance to the brand as well – things like developing a brand guide, making sure our third-party vendors and providers used the brand for everything they were doing to support us (benefits, learning and development, pension, etc.), and creating stamps for local sites to use so things they were doing related to engagement could be “approved” as being linked to the Connect Grow Win experience. This is how we really helped to embed the brand and breathe life into our employee engagement strategy.

If you’re looking to embed an internal brand within your organization, below are the keys to success that helped us at CCE:

  • Appreciate the challenge
  • Make it about the business
  • Have a clear process
  • Communicate…communicate…communicate

If you’d like to take a look at the full presentation, click here.

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