Interview: Internal Branding at Virgin Media

We caught up with Simon Jeffers, Project Communications & Engagement Design Manager, from Virgin Media to discuss what internal branding means to him and what businesses should be doing to improve.

What does internal branding mean to you?

Internal branding offers opportunities to introduce and reinforce values. Those values could be based on Culture and Engagement or Company Strategy, what’s important is that there’s an honesty and integrity to the messages we are sending via the brand. If we have a strong brand it’s a lot easier to bring any communication to life. Good design and strong branding isn’t confusing, it’s more than just an enhancement, it’s actually the foundation to a great communication or message.

Explain what you do at Virgin Media to engage with the team

I’m really fortunate to be amongst some of the most creative and inspiring people in the business. People who love a challenge but also have lots to give in the creative space. I get to work on some really engaging projects such as the One Magazine publication so it’s really not difficult to get teams on board and be part of the process. I’ve found it’s really important that people are involved from the earliest stages, taking everyone through the full journey so they really feel a part of the story and can feel proud of the output.

Is there anything, such as schemes or campaigns, that you’ve found has worked really well?

Virgin Media has a strong people based culture. By keeping our people happy they take a real pride in their work and deliver a better customer service as a result. We know we have a large demographic of employees so keeping everyone happy is a really tall order. We recognise that it’s really hard to get a good work/life balance so we introduced Virgin Angels to our UK and
Off-Shore call centres.

Our Angels are there for our people to ensure they can take on the tasks that sometimes distract us from giving a great customer service. From supporting with the day-to-day running of our call centres, facilitating local events and meetings, bringing in vendors for some great shopping deals or delivering
healthy food and snacks. Making that effort to show we really value our people gives a great return on engagement.

What do you think makes an internal brand really strong?

Great internal branding is relatable and easy to understand. It’s adaptable enough to feel dependable and honest yet it has a simple design that doesn’t feel overbearing and has room for fun.

What do you think are the main challenges facing internal communications?

There’s so much information out there and not enough time for people to digest it. Internal communication should prioritise what’s important and if the message being shared will fit with a long-term communication plan.

It’s easy to run away with celebrating successes and overlook the importance of what matters to your people so internal communications need to ensure that its people feel valued and are part of the strategy their branding demonstrates.

How do you think internal branding will change over the next 5 years?

I think internal branding will feel more inclusive to its people; they will have much more control over how we engage them and what is important to them. Social media and digital platforms will define and shape the future of communicating with each other and internal branding needs to keep up with every evolving change to our working environment and trends set by its people. Branding will be even more adaptable to suit the many channels we communicate via and it will face some real challenges in maintaining loyalty as choices and accessibility to competition grows.

What advice would you give to a brand looking to improve their internal branding?

You get much more return from your brand when you invest time and effort into it. Your brand should be an integral part of your communication and engagement. If you want to engage your people let them see it through the effort you have put into the branding you’re sharing with them and if they can help shape your branding, then you should definitely make sure they are involved. Employees have so much information to absorb every day so if branding isn’t clear or looks too challenging to understand then it will simply get pushed down their list of importance, resulting in reduced loyalty and more segregation and unified understanding. To that point also, don’t have too much branding, keep it simple and to the point, make sure your strategy and values are identifiable in your brand.

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