Article | March 25, 2014

Internal Branding Key To Creating Water Utility Employee Ambassadors

By Donna Vincent Roa

Internal branding can ignite employee performance, strengthen the profit potential of a water utility, and play a key role in helping utility executives and leaders inform staff of their external-facing expectations. To stimultate employee brand support and organizational change, internal communication and branding efforts should be a direct and constructive expression of the organization’s vision and strategic plan.

Senior Leaders Have Linchpin Role in Internal Communication Success

Senior leaders of water utilities, in particular, and middle managers have a linchpin role to play in the success of such efforts. Their actions and what and how they communicate directly affect a utility's bottom line and catalyze employee engagement.

Executive communication materials should establish and support the tenor and tone of the external brand, showcase utility priorities, and directly support the alignment of vision to action. Official communication to internal stakeholders should reflect precision in brand image, reflect superior design, and provide consistent messaging of a utility's values.

Brand Excellence Required

If executive and internal communication materials show no brand excellence and consistency, do not look like they support the “good design is good business” principle, and present a disjointed face, it will denigrate the overall impact of the messaging and represent a missed opportunity. Visually strong and purposefully designed and branded products can:

  • Drive change
  • Reinforce utility business goals and objectives
  • Contribute directly to external brand awareness and consistency
  • Make clear the vision, values and culture of a utility to internal stakeholders.

Employees Need to Be "Always Informed"

While the customer may always be right, employees need to be "always informed" of a utility's brand philosophy, brand platform and organizational strategic vision. Employees, from the top down, are flag carriers and brand advocates, but more importantly, are important and influential stakeholders of a utility.

Utilities can get great mileage from purposeful executive communication tools and materials. Done right, they can stimulate internal brand loyalty, a sense of unity with the brand of the utility, and create empowered organizational brand ambassadors better equipped to serve external stakeholders and constituencies.

Image credit: "Rotorua Wastewater Treatment Plant," © 2011 charleschauvelmp, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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