The Business Case for Collaborative Branding
A brand is a promise that a company makes and consistently delivers to its customers. However, an organization doesn’t fulfill those promises. The employees of the organization do. It is for this reason that your strategic brand conversations must be collaborative because your marketing department makes the promises that the people in your operations (supported by human resource practices) deliver on.
Therefore, the business case for collaborative branding must begin with an understanding of the correlation between how engaged your employees are, their performance and your ability to fulfill your brand promises and ultimately your sustainable brand worth. Employee engagement relates to what extent your employees are emotionally and rationally committed to your organization. The outputs of engagement are: intent to stay and investment of discretionary effort. More engaged employees will go above and beyond for your customers time and time again.
- According to a 2005 study from the Corporate Leadership Council on engagement, there is a “The 10:6:2” Rule which means:
- Every 10% improvement increases in commitment can increase an employee’s effort by 6%
- Every 6% improvement in effort can increase an employee’s performance by 2%
- Customer “wins” is when your organization is able to strongly deliver on what is absolutely the most important to your customer (that he or she may or not have been aware of.) A “win” is what your do to far exceed your customer’s expectations. The research team at Walt Disney World was able to quantify the linkage between increasing the number of wins to customer satisfaction and ultimately to revenue.
This business case provides the burning platform for your marketing, operations, finance and human resource executives to work together on your annual strategic brand planning.
The truth is that there is a strong business case for engaging your employees in your mission and brand and it can be quantified. You may or may not have the expertise in house, you may or may not have the solid employee or customer data readily at hand. However, taking the time to create this business case will demonstrate for you and for the rest of your organization that your brand investment is one like any other investment and you should expect a return on it. However, to truly realize the return, you have to look broader than the simple metrics of customer acquisition (# of new prospects, etc.) because if you do, you are leaving money on the table. Increasing the number of new customers and revenue streams is important. But what if you could get those new customers and revenue streams while minimizing your marketing dollars? It is for this reason, you want to establish your business case. When your employees live your brand, your return on your brand investment will be exponentially higher because:
- Your perceived integrity will be higher
- The speed of your brand equity growth will be accelerated
- You will be able get these results by maximizing your existing assets (less marketing dollars, maximizing the return on your human capital investment)
Three Key Actions
- Collect baseline data on your current levels of employee engagement (the extent your employees are rationally and emotionally committed to your organization) and customer satisfaction.
- Identify the drivers of employee engagement and what constitutes a win in the minds of your customers
- Find measurement experts who can help you connect the dots between these data points and your revenue achievement and brand worth.