Brands speak to several audiences at the same time. Froot Loops, for example, must address both the child who will eat the sugary cereals, and the parents who will buy them. In the case of brands that represent the entire institution (Kellogg’s in the case of Froot Loops), one of the key audiences is the internal one.
As we know, monetary compensation is not the only variable that employees value. According to Harvard Business Review, 9 out of 10 employees are willing to earn less money to do more meaningful work.
This adds to the fact that new generations, which in 2025 will represent 75% of the global workforce, don’t trust in businesses and are highly prone to change employers. In this challenging context, we will explore how a solid corporate identity can help us recruit new talents, generate a productive work environment, and retain employees.
Corporate brands must address their employees for the same reason that they must address consumers: To build trust, identification and loyalty. To do this, they must meet three key objectives:
- Communicate benefits in an attractive and transparent way
- Be the banner of the company’s internal culture
- Guide the future development of the company
Next, we will analyze these three objectives.
1. Communicate benefits in an attractive and transparent way
Many companies have made great efforts to adapt their internal spaces and processes to the new demands of their employees. This is not enough, however. Any change in management strategy must be accompanied by a change in communication. Not doing so amounts to launching a new product and not communicating it: The product can be fantastic, but if its existence goes unnoticed, nobody will buy it.
This is why corporate brands must communicate the benefits of working in the company, to both current and potential employees. As we mentioned, tangible benefits are only part of the equation. Increasingly, employees are looking for jobs where collaboration, creativity and ethics are common currency. In this context, trends indicate that currently the greatest differential lies in intangible benefits. Therefore, a solid corporate identity must communicate in an attractive and transparent way what the company has to offer in relation to:
- Employee autonomy. For example, the possibility of choosing teams and workspaces, projects and schedules.
- Freedom to be genuine. For example, dress code, type of communication with teammates and superiors, and possibility of creative expression.
- Ethical values. For example, the company’s policy on issues such as sustainability, diversity, inclusion and equality.
2. Banner of the company’s internal culture
Facebook uses references to popular culture to name its meeting rooms and Google employees wear a nerdy cap on their first day. These little traditions are part of something much bigger: The internal culture. Through it, companies set up a system of traditions, symbols and values that allow employees to establish shared identity codes through which a community is built.
Leading the corporate culture, is the corporate brand: The banner that represents and coordinates the system of traditions, symbols and values. Therefore, it is essential that there is absolute cohesion between the desired internal culture and the communication strategy and visual and verbal systems of the corporate brand. Otherwise, there is a risk of generating confusion and even a sense of hypocrisy that will undermine the employees’ sense of identification and belonging. A clear example: A company with a corporate identity such as Deutsche Bank should not ask its employees to wear a cap like Google’s.
3. Guide the future development of the company
The last element of the list refers to the role of the corporate brand representing faithfully and communicating with transparency the company’s objectives. Increasingly, employees pursue jobs with meaning and personal growth opportunities. Because of this, the company’s objectives must be in line with those of its employees, as well as with their ethical and moral values. Otherwise, both employee retention and motivation and productivity at the workplace will tend to decline.
This is why the corporate brand should—always with transparency—be responsible for expressing in a clear and attractive way the mission (short-term goal) and the vision (long-term goal) of the business. These statements not only contribute to motivation and meaning-construction, but are also extremely useful for evaluating future projects. Google, for example, with its mission of “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” should not start manufacturing shoe polishers. Not because the brand is not capable of doing it, but because it is not part of the company’s identity or the promise to its internal public.
In sum, “communicating benefits in an attractive and transparent way”, “being the banner of the company’s internal culture” and “guiding the future development of the company” contribute to the building of trust, identification and loyalty in the workplace, helping to recruit new talents, generate a productive work environment, and retain employees.