Brand Discovery 2021: Amber Cobos on Branding for Your Internal Customers

Date Posted: May 20, 2021

Amber Cobos shared her expertise and experience driving employee and community engagement with the Pioneer brand. We love Pioneer for being a community minded credit union with a strong team spirit. Learn how they keep their internal customers on board with the Pioneer brand!


I am our community and brand specialist here at Pioneer Federal Credit Union. And I want to talk to you about branding for your internal customers. And when I say internal customers, I mean your employees or your team members, as we refer to them at Pioneer.

We all know that branding is an important aspect of your company. It's how you guys survive. It's how people know who you are, that you exist. But it's just as important to help brand internally as well, make sure that your team members, your employees are aware of your brand standards. How to properly talk about your brand to your consumers, all of that good stuff. We want to make sure that it's not just your marketing team that are the cheerleaders for your organization, but it's all of your employees.

Brand Consistency Starts Internally

So ensuring that your employees are up to par with your brand is more important, maybe not more important, but just as important as it is for your community to know what your brand is. After all, most of the time, those team members are the forefront of what your consumers see.

For example, with the Credit Union, all of our branch team members are who our members interact with. It's not us and marketing, it's not our EFT or accounting team, all those back admin office employees, but it's our branch staff. So making sure that they know what our brand is and what we expect of them is just as important.

So I've broken this out into three different C's, just to make it easy and concise for you guys today. We have clarity, consistency, and community.


So let's start it off with clarity - clear communication. Obviously this is a no brainer ensuring that your team members understand the importance of brand. Unless they are a part of the marketing team, most often your team members, your employees, maybe they don't know what a mission statement is or why it's important to a brand. Maybe they don't understand why it's important to have core values or standards like that.

So ensuring that they understand each element of your brand, that's going to help with that clear communication. Making sure that you as a company, have those brand elements outlined, a brand book is a great way to do so. It outlines every element from fonts to color themes, to proper image use. You know, all of that is important. We as a marketing team obviously use that day in and day out, but it's important for your other team members to see that visually and have just that nice, wrapped up, pretty package that explains and outlines everything for them. So if you don't have a brand book, I highly encourage it for your team. It is extremely useful and it ensures that everybody is on the same page and they understand, step A step B for your brand consistency.

Another great way to communicate that education is through emails. Sending out brand tips, talking points, how to discuss this or that with your consumers or with your team members as well. Talking about it internally is just as important. We always want to make sure too that we're continuously educating.

Again, if you're not part of the marketing department and you're not working with those brand specifics every single day, most likely you don't know the ins and outs of your brand because you're not having to worry about placing a logo properly on a teller or on a flyer. You're not having to worry about if that blue color is just the right blue. You know, those are things that, from a marketing standpoint, we can take for granted because we, we know it like the back of our hand, but the rest of the team most likely do not. So just always continually educating them on those pieces. So that way they're aware of what those standards are.


All right, our second C is consistency. So it's important to establish a consistent brand to help with effective repetition in the marketplace. Obviously we don't want to be mistaken for a different competitor. We are in the financial industry as a credit union. So our marketplace is heavily saturated with different credit unions, banks. All of those are competitors to us. We want to make sure that we are able to make a name for ourself in and stand out amongst those competitors. I have it here bulleted because I truly feel like it's definitely in our control. You as an organization, as a company, you do have full control over your brand's consistency, both internally and externally. There are things within marketing and advertising that we can't control, but consistency or continuity, like Ron said, we definitely have full control over.

Just as it's important to be consistent with your brand in the marketplace, it's just as important to do so internally with different platforms or programs that you use, documents you have for your team members. You don't want to slack just because you think, Oh, you know, I, consumer's not going to see that document or PDF. Your team members, your employees, they are customers too.

So you want to make sure that you still have that consistency amongst everything you touch, whether it's a letterhead, an envelope, a document between you and another department, all of that goes into playing an important role in your brand. And then structuring your company in accordance with your brand can help ensure that these promises you promote are being upheld and filtered down to your customers. Why have a brand or core values or a mission if you and your team members, aren't living it out, you want to make sure that everybody is on page and and drinking the same juice.


Our third C is community. We're all in this together. We've heard the term, it takes a village to make things happen. Community building is not only meant for building outside of your company. It's not just building stronger partnerships with other organizations or with your consumers, but it's within a company's walls as well. A sense of belonging at work helps build stronger relationships with your peers and it produces more a productive work environment. So examples of, helping build that comradery and boosting morale, you can host potlucks, you can gather as a group to volunteer in the community and support another organization, you can host company holiday parties, incentives for engagement. There's so many different ways that we can build that sense of community within our own walls at an organization.

I recently came across this quote from Healthoholics as I was just kind of searching through different brands and what others do. And I really fell in love with it. It really speaks volumes to what community means. It says communities allow us to support one another, interact, share experiences, and our struggles having this open bond with others is what builds valuable relationships and gives us a deeper sense of belonging.

Communities are also rich in resources. Your strengths may be someone else's weakness and vice versa, but the diversity of skills, common goals can be achieved that much faster. That's what we're all doing here today, too. We're sharing our expertise and collaborating with one another to help each other out in whatever organization or business we're in. So I encourage you guys to find ways for your company to be present in the community, offer education instead of pushing products down their throat. It's easy for us to be salesy, especially when we're so passionate about things, but we don't want to come across as aggressive in our approach. We want to make sure that we're genuine and someone that a customer wants to do business with.

Internal Branding Challenge:

Just like Ron had a challenge. I'd like to challenge all of you as well, if you're up for it. I absolutely love collaboration. I love talking with others and just bouncing ideas back and forth because that's what helps us grow. Like that quote and in the last slide said, we all have different viewpoints. We all bring different things to the table.

So if you're up for it, share with us ways in which you have made your company's brand top of mind for your employees, or share with us a creative way, companies can be involved in their community. You know, sometimes we get pigeonholed or we just have these creative blocks and we can't think of other ways to get our team members excited about brand or get them engaged with the community. So if you have ideas, please share them with the team. And it's just more tips and tricks for us each to have in our tool belt. You guys can email those over to Karri and then anyone who participates, I do have a fun little prize, kind of like a summer road trip, goody box. So we'll definitely choose a winner and we'll share all of that out to those who participated today.

Of course, if you guys have any questions at all, my contact information is on the screen. I'm happy to answer questions or collaborate with anyone who maybe has other ideas for, just really speaking about your brand internally with your team members and getting everyone engaged with their community.

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