Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The role of internal branding in the delivery of employee brand promise


In branding literature, the employee role is recognised as crucial in delivering the service as promised by the brand. A plethora of existing insights have been gained through practitioners' and customers' perspectives. Little empirical research has been undertaken with employees. Therefore, this study aims to reveal their perceptions towards their role and the techniques that enable them to fulfil the brand promise. A case-study approach is adopted using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In-depth interviews reveal that employees feel that their actions are vital to the brand, and findings from a survey of 699 respondents demonstrate positive relationships among internal branding instruments and their brand promise delivery. These tools influence the employees' brand attitudes, namely brand identification, brand commitment and brand loyalty. Ultimately, these attitudes also influence the manner in which employees deliver the service. Therefore, internal branding not only directly influences the extent to which employees perform their role in relation to the brand promise, but also influences the attitudes employees have towards the brand, which in turn affects employee performance.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Figure 1
Figure 2


  1. Balmer, J. M. T. (1998) ‘Corporate identity and the advent of corporate marketing’, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 14, No. 8, pp.963–996.

  2. Balmer, J. M. T. and Greyser, S. A. (2006) ‘Corporate marketing: Integrating corporate identity, corporate branding, corporate communications, corporate image and corporate reputation’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 40, No. 7/8, pp.730–741.

  3. Schultz, M. and de Chernatony, L. (2002) ‘Introduction: The challenges of corporate branding’, Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 5, No. 2/3, pp.109–113.

  4. De Chernatony, L. (2001) ‘From Brand Vision to Brand Evaluation—Strategically Building and Sustaining Brands’, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.

  5. Tosti, T. and Stotz, D. (2001) ‘Brand: Building your brand from the inside out’, Marketing Management, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.28–33.

  6. Wittke-Kothe, C. (2001) ‘Interne Markenführung—Verankerung der Markenidentität im Mitarbeiterverhalten’, Deutscher Universitätsverlag GmbH, Wiesbaden.

  7. Kelly, J. (1998) ‘Paying for that old brand magic’, Financial Times, 12 August, p. 8.

  8. Sharp, B. (1995) ‘Brand equity and market-based assets of professional service firms’, Journal of Professional Services Marketing, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.3–13.

  9. Samli, A. and Frohlich, C. (1992) ‘Service: The competitive edge in banking’, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp.15–22.

  10. Balmer, J. and Wilkinson, A. (1991) ‘Building societies: Change, strategy and corporate identity’, Journal of General Management, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.20–33.

  11. Bharadwaj, S. G., Varadarajan, R. P. and Fahy, J. (1993) ‘Sustainable competitive advantage of service industries: A conceptual model and research propositions’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 57, pp.83–99.

  12. Day, G. S. and Wensley, R. (1988) ‘Assessing advantage: A framework for diagnosing competitive superiority’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 52, pp.1–20.

  13. Joseph, W. B. (1996) Internal marketing builds service quality’, Journal of Health Care Marketing, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp.54–59.

  14. De Chernatony, L. and Segal-Horn, S. (2003) ‘The criteria for successful services brands’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 37, No. 7/8, pp.1095–1118.

  15. Harris, F. and de Chernatony, L. (2001) ‘Corporate branding and corporate brand performance’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 35, No. 3/4, pp.441.

  16. Vallaster, C. and de Chernatony, L. (2003) ‘Internalisation of services brands: The role of leadership during the internal brand building process’, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 21, pp.181–203.

  17. Fitzgerald, T. J. (1988) ‘Understanding the differences and similarities between services and products to exploit your competitive advantage’, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 2 (Winter), pp.25–30.

  18. Vallaster, C. (2004) ‘Internal brand building in multicultural organisations: A roadmap towards action research’, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp.100–113.

  19. De Chernatony, L. and Segal-Horn, S. (2001) ‘Building on services' characteristics to develop successful services brands’, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 17, pp.645–669.

  20. Hatch, M. J. and Schultz, M. (2001) ‘Are the strategic stars aligned for your corporate brand?’, Harvard Business Review February, Vol. 79, No. 2, pp.128–135.

  21. LePla, F. J. and Parker, L. M. (1999) ‘Integrated Branding: Becoming Brand-Driven Through Company-Wide Action’, Quorum Books, London.

  22. Meyer, J. P., Stanley, D. J., Herscovitch, L. and Topolnytsky, L. (2002) ‘Affective, continuance, and normative commitment to the organisation: A meta-analysis of antecedents, correlates, and consequences’, Journal of Vocational Behaviour, Vol. 61, pp.20–52.

  23. Papasolomou, I. and Vrontis, D. (2006) ‘Using internal marketing to ignite the corporate brand: The case of the UK retail bank industry’, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 14, No. 1/2, pp.177–195.

  24. Machtiger, B. (2004) ‘Beware pitfalls that kill branding efforts’, Marketing News, Vol. 38, No. 4, p.21.

  25. Pfeffer, J. (1998) ‘Seven practices of successful organisations’, California Management Review, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp.96–124.

  26. Zerbe, W., Dobni, D. and Harel, G. H. (1998) ‘Promoting employee service behaviour: The role of perceptions of human resource management practices and service culture’, Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l’Administration, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp.165–179.

  27. Burmann, C. and Zeplin, S. (2005) ‘Building brand commitment: A behavioural approach to internal brand management’, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp.279–300.

  28. Gapp, R. and Merrilees, B. (2006) ‘Important factors to consider when using internal branding as a management strategy: A healthcare case study’, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 14, No. 1/2, pp.162–176.

  29. Asif, S. and Sargeant, A. (2000) ‘Modelling internal communications in the financial services sector’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 34, No. 3/4, p.299.

  30. De Chernatony, L., Drury, S. and Segal-Horn, S (2003) ‘Building a services brand: Stages, people and orientations’, The Service Industries Journal, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp.1–21.

  31. Aurand, T. W., Gorchels, L. and Bishop, T. R. (2005) ‘Human resource management's role in internal branding: An opportunity for cross-functional brand message synergy’, The Journal of Product and Brand Management, Vol. 14, No. 2/3, pp.163–169.

  32. Hoffman, J. and Mehra, S. (1999) ‘Operationalising productivity improvement programs through total quality management’, The International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 16, No. 1, p.72.

  33. Zeithaml, V. and Bitner, M. (2000) ‘Service Marketing’, McGraw-Hill, New York.

  34. Rowley, J. (2002) ‘Using case studies in research’, Management Research News, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp.16–27.

  35. Amaratunga, D. and Baldry, D. (2001) ‘Case study methodology as a means of theory building: Performance measurement in facilities management organisations’, Work Study, Vol. 50, No. 3, pp.95–104.

  36. Voss, C., Tsikriktsis, N. and Frohlich, M. (2002) ‘Case research in operations management’, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp.195–219.

  37. Miles, M. B. and Huberman, A. M. (1988) ‘Data management and analysis methods ', in Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research. Sage, California, pp.428–444.

  38. Amaratunga, D., Baldry, D., Sarshar, M. and Newton, R (2002) ‘Quantitative and qualitative research in the built environment: Application of mixed research approach’, Work Study, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp.17–31.

  39. Malhotra, N. and Birks, D. (2000) ‘Marketing Research: An Applied Approach', European edn,Prentice-Hall, London.

  40. Mael, F. and Ashforth, B. E. (1992) ‘Alumni and their alma mater: A partial test of the reformulated model of organisational identification’, Journal of Organisational Behaviour, Vol. 13, pp.103–123.

  41. Mohr, J., Fisher, R. J. and Nevin, J. R. (1996) ‘Collaborative communication in interfirm relationships: Moderating effects of integration and control’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 60, No. 3, pp.103–115.

  42. Shamir, B., Zakay, E. and Popper, M. (1998) ‘Correlates of charismatic leader behaviour in military units: Subordinates' attitudes, unit characteristics, and superiors' appraisals of leader performance’, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp.387–409.

  43. O’Reilly III, C. and Chatman, J. (1986) ‘Organisational commitment and psychological attachment: The effects of compliance, identification, and internalization on prosocial behaviour’, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 71, pp.492–499.

  44. Tyagi, P. (1982) ‘Perceived organisational climate and the process of salesperson motivation’, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 19, No. 000002, pp.240–254.

  45. Nunnally, J. (1967) ‘Psychometric Methods’, McGraw-Hill, New York.

  46. Business Centre Officer of Hotel P, male.

  47. Director of Food & Beverage of Hotel S.

  48. Frazier, P. A., Tix, A. P. and Barron, K. E. (2004) ‘Testing moderator & mediator effects in counselling psychology research’, Journal of Counselling Psychology, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp.115–134.

  49. Multiplying the unstandardised regression coefficient weights for Path a and Path b, and divided by the square root of b2sa2+a2sb2+sa2sb2: a and b are unstandardised regression coefficients and sa and sb are their standard errors. The result is a z-score of the mediated effect. When the z-score is greater than 1.96, the effect is significant at the 0.05 level.

  50. To describe the amount of mediation in terms of the proportion of the total effect that is mediated, ab/c is applied.

  51. Duprey, R. (2006)Is E-Learning on Your Training Menu?, Retrieved 21st December, 2006 from 4Hoteliers Hospitality and Travel News website:

  52. Mumby-Croft, R. and Williams, J. (2002) ‘The concept of workplace marketing: A management development model for corporate and enterprise sectors’, Strategic Change, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp.205–214.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Khanyapuss Punjaisri.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Punjaisri, K., Wilson, A. The role of internal branding in the delivery of employee brand promise. J Brand Manag 15, 57–70 (2007).

Download citation


  • internal branding
  • customer-facing employees
  • brand promise delivery
  • corporate marketing