Driven by the constant need to stand out in an ever-evolving and often overcrowded market, brands today are not just competing for visibility; they’re striving to embed themselves into the cultural fabric of our lives. This battle for cultural relevance is not just about being noticed—although that’s a pretty good place to start—it’s about building a sustained, consistent, and confident connection with what matters to people, culture, and the outside world. We call this Cultural Endurance. This philosophy underpins everything we do, helping brands find their place in people’s lives, showing up time and again in their cultural landscape, and being part of the cultural conversations that matter.

But here’s the thing: smart brands know that this connection with people starts from the inside, using internal comms to drive employee engagement. They’re crafting internal cultures, subcultures, beliefs, and behaviours that set the tone for how they want to be seen in the real world, beyond their company walls. And it fuels performance and growth too – 23% greater profitability and an 18% increase in productivity according to Gallup. But how does this show up day-to-day?

1. You’ll realise that employees are your best brand advocates.

They are, hands down, your most credible voices. According to Visual Commerce’s Consumer Trust report, “76% of consumers are more likely to trust content shared by employees.” When employees believe in and feel valued by your brand, they naturally share positive stories, boosting your brand’s authenticity and reach. 

Adobe’s ‘Adobe Life’ programme empowers employees to share authentic content on social media, including their experiences, insights, and company news. This raw and personalised approach pulls back the curtain on what it’s like to work at Adobe, authenticating the brand and attracting top creative professionals.

2. You’ll retain (and attract) top talent.

Gallup’s study of nearly 24,000 businesses found that those with low engagement scores saw 31% – 51% more employee turnover. And turnover is expensive. The Work Institute estimates that each lost employee costs a company about one-third of their annual salary, while Gallup suggests it could be as high as half to two times the original employee’s salary. Through Cultural Endurance, internal culture becomes a powerful tool for retaining top talent. Equally valuable is the depth of brand knowledge and understanding these employees possess which, quite simply, cannot be acquired overnight.

That’s why fostering a collaborative internal culture is so important. A culture that encourages two-way communication and acts on feedback is 12 times more likely to retain talent. HubSpot exemplifies this with its ‘Culture Code’, which highlights the company’s core values of transparency, autonomy, and employee happiness. They also have a dedicated ‘Culture Committee’ that regularly gathers employee feedback and initiates improvements to boost engagement.

3. You’ll see more innovation and creativity.

In great workplace cultures, employees know their ideas and improvements matter—and they feel empowered to take appropriate risks. They start to act like owners and naturally begin to innovate. Take Google’s 20% time policy, for example. By allowing employees to spend part of their workweek on passion projects, Google has fostered major innovations like Gmail and Google Maps.

Neon orange sign that says "ideas realised"

Encouraging your team to think creatively and contribute ideas can lead to breakthroughs that set your brand apart. Through a culture of innovation and creativity, you’re not just creating a workplace environment that empowers your employees—you’re positioning your brand at the forefront of cultural evolution, breaking free from conventional boundaries and creating new paths that can redefine our societal norms and behaviours.

4. Your employees and customers will be on the same page.

This is when the magic happens. As Sybil F. Stershic said, “The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” Great brands get this. They turn their teams into champions by embodying their values and purpose from the start. This means more than just lip service; it’s about creating a culture where every team member is not only aware of the company’s values but lives and breathes them, daily. It’s about building a workforce that is not only engaged but passionate—employees who do not see their job as a chore, but as an opportunity to work towards a shared vision. 

Man standing on rocks at the beach wearing wetsuit and holding surfboard

Take Patagonia, for example. Doing the right thing isn’t just talk for them—it’s in their DNA. Their internal communications consistently reinforce their commitment to employee well-being, reflecting the care they show to the outside world. Employees share daily surf reports, and when the waves are perfect, the company even announces it, encouraging everyone to hit the surf. This not only makes employees feel valued but also makes business sense. As Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard explains, “Every time I do the right thing, I make money.”

Building your brand from the inside out is not just a strategy; it’s a necessity in today’s cultural landscape. Just imagine if all brands cultivated a culture where employees felt valued, empowered and aligned with the brand’s ethos; the powerful narratives that would resonate within and outside their walls – and the long-term success that would follow…

Learn more about Smarts’ Internal Communications practice, INgage here, or explore some of our work: