Corporate communication: FIRST LISTEN, then talk (when internal branding has the opposite effect)

Is everybody sick to death of branding and brand messages at work? If so, does internal branding stand a chance?

I’m thinking of the popularity of games like buzzword bingo (or “B.S. bingo”) where people attend meetings and cross out buzzwords as they’re spoken—the fun part is you get to yell out “Bingo” (or scream it silently to yourself) when you get five in a row. And of course there is “The Office” and “Dilbert.”

I wonder if, to employees, brand messages—no matter how well-intentioned or expensive—have the exact opposite effect they’re supposed to. Recently I stumbled on this essay--it gives you the idea:
"When I was working at Pizza Hut, they used to show us promotional videos for the new pizzas they were unveiling. These were not for the customers; no one would ever see them but employees, yet they were still expertly produced with fancy jump cuts, jingles, lighting, sound, everything. I have no doubt that they cost the company thousands of dollars a year. The intent was to get us excited about our work. They were trying to sell us on making pizzas. Rather than give us a raise, however small it might be, they decided to spend the money on an utterly worthless attempt to motivate us about something we already had to do."
Yet if Pizza Hut were to give this employee more money, would he then want to watch the Pizza Hut internal video? Or would he find some other reason to reject it?

I guess my question is, if employees reject internal branding/marketing, what is the alternative? Should organizations simply say nothing to their people? Perhaps that’s exactly right. Maybe it’s time for organizations to listen to what their employees have to say FIRST, and then feed that back in the form of corporate communication. This goes along with the idea that brands are co-created between the producer (employer) and the user (in this case, the employee). If employees have stopped listening, then brands should stop talking until they hear something from the employees. That gives them a place to begin.

About

Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, www.AllThingsBrand.com and www.DannielleBlumenthal.com, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.