What’s the difference in the internal and external brands?

by | Jun 12, 2018

The internal brand (or employer brand) exists in close relationship with the external brand (or consumer brand). But sometimes people find it confusing to know when to use which.

At Tribe, we recently developed an employer brand for a large Silicon Valley company. They have a very well-established consumer brand, but the internal branding was new to them. Our creative team spent a few days out there with their in-house creatives hammering out the graphic standards for the internal brand and what it did and did not share with the external brand.

Although this was a seasoned team of brand professionals, they still got tripped up occasionally on when to use the internal brand. For the employee intranet? Yes. An employee magazine? Yes. But what about digital signage for monitors in the office buildings? Well, it depends on who sees those monitors.

Our recommendation is that you base that decision on the audience. If it’s an employee-only audience and you’re talking within the family, so to speak, then use the employer brand. In communications with the outside world, stick with the consumer brand. So digital signage in the lobby or waiting areas should probably reflect the external brand, although for the signage in the break room, we’d go with the internal branding.

The point of an internal brand is for employees to know you’re talking to employees. As in our handy reference visual above, if you’re talking to the fish, use the employer brand. For cats and everyone else outside the fish bowl, it’s the consumer brand.

Interested in developing your employer brand? Tribe can help.




Subscribe to our internal communications blog