Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
This October we are celebrating our 12th anniversary as the single source for Internal Branding. To commemorate and celebrate this occasion we are repeating our Brand Ambassador Survey for 2010 to provide benchmark findings in comparison to last year's results. We are anxious to see if there have been any dramatic changes from the previous year.
Last year, even though employee brand advocacy was the third most important factor in building brand equity according to the ANA, over 68% of the people we surveyed said that their companies did not fully embrace the concept of brand ambassadorship programs to promote brand values and new behaviors to support customer centricity. Only a third (32%) felt their companies fully embraced this idea. And in comparison to the previous year, 25% believed that their companies will invest less time and money for employee advocacy and brand championship programs. These were startling findings in our opinion.
In addition, we learned that very few companies utilize new tactical techniques for engaging employees such as internal Web 2.0 technology, experiential learning, peer to peer recognition, etc.
Inward defines Brand Ambassadors as "Employees of an organization that embody the brand values, culture and behavior that provide great customer experiences and positive perceptions that exemplify the brand image of the company."
We would appreciate it very much if you would help us spread this survey link to your colleagues and business associates inside and outside your firm (through your contacts and social networks) as well. The questionnaire is relevant to anyone who works in a company. The more people who participate, the better the findings will be. We have high expectations for a great response.
Click Here To Take The Survey Now:
Lastly, I would like to thank all of our friends, affiliate partners and especially our clients for your continued support and enthusiasm over the last 12 years. We have been fortunate to work with the great clients who have become close friends and sources of numerous referrals. Our first client was Sapient, and we grew to serve many others such as Jordan's Furniture, BD, Pitney Bowes, Campbell's, Patni, Ontario Power Generation, Oxfam, Fidelity Investments, McKinsey, Ericsson, Zurich Financial Insurance, L&T Infotech in India, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Keystone Partners and HP just to mention a few. Thank you all so much for your continued support and referrals. We appreciate you all every day!
Thank you for taking our survey and helping celebrate our 12 year anniversary.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Recently, I came across an interesting research report by Accenture. They completed a study and issued a report called "Onward and Up - How marketers are refocusing the front office for growth. It grabbed my attention for different reasons.
New Market Reality
The research was conducted with over 400 front line CMO's - the findings postulate an idea that customers are weary of traditional marketing channels as a result of the recent economic downturn. They further suggest that as a result of slashed budgets, plus the demand for products and services have been altered as well. To reverse this trend, marketers will need to rethink their communications to address these changes, often with limited or declining budgets. Now that's a challenge! Let me summarize, less loyal consumers, shopping in new ways (getting opinions on line by experts, more comparative shopping, seeking advice from trusted advisors from bloggers, no risk free shipping/no fault returns) seeking more value and quality with fewer marketing dollars to create demand and change perceptions.
Accenture suggests that companies need to address these challenges and must "fundamentally change the structure, skills, practices and approaches of their marketing organization to meet these changing needs - within the same budget parameters or with less." The report continues, for the companies that grew revenue, they described themselves as having stronger abilities in four specific areas; 47% invested in ROI and productivity, 68% achieved above average performance in analytics, 64% achieved above average innovation capabilities and 41% reported effective use of digital channels.
What does that all mean for you?
- Customers have changed, whether they were BtoB or BtoC channels, as a result there is a greater need to know and understand who they are and what motivates their buying habits and needs. Don't take your current customer understanding for granted. That means you need to do new research. But with limited marketing budgets - you should consider new types of methods of research, like triads instead of focus groups, conducting studies with fan and customer social communities like LinkedIn and Facebook, relying on digital research channels and panels to gather findings and derive insights.
- Seek out best practices and success stories within pockets of your own company and leverage the innovations and broaden the scope to other parts of the company. Never rest on the laurels of the past - but seek out new ways to learn about the customer and adapt new messages/channels to influence their thinking. Share the best practices with the staff through effective internal brand communications and internal social networks. Innovation and fresh ideas can come from anywhere within the company, but it has to be encouraged and rewarded by positive recognition.
- Rely of new channels of social media. Overcome the fear that customers might say something negatives about your products and brands. Use the communities to learn, populate fresh ideas on how to think about and use your brands. Understand the role the opinion leaders and influencers and how they can make the difference between having a brand that shines or fails. Recognize the power of bloggers, know who are the ones that follow your business category. Monitor what they say and start a transparent dialogue with them.
- Odds are that your budgets will continue to stay the same or shrink some more. Therefore, be proactive and initiate productivity improvement efforts within marketing. Examine organizational redesign within research, brand management, headcount redundancies, brand consolidations, retiring old non-performing brands and their investments. Take the savings and reinvest the money in efforts that have the highest ROI and leverage your limited funds!
- Consider new technologies and platforms especially in the area of shopper marketing and wireless applications where marketers can offer instant promotions and incentives to their shoppers when they are actually in the store or online. Macy launched a program this week called Shopkick - They are offering instant rewards to their shoppers on their cell phones for simply walking into their store. Amazing.
- Re-evaluate your people and vendors to insure that you are getting the highest levels productivity at the lowest cost. In this economy, people and vendors are tuned on to work harder, smarter and longer than in the past. Are your people and vendors carrying their weight and adding value? If not, consider replacing them with new talent who are hungry, smarter and more ambitious than the ones that serve you today.
If you have additional ideas and thoughts on how to address the new marketing economy, please share them with me. I would love to hear them.
Now that I have challenged you are wondering where and how to start, give us a call. We would love to have a productive conversation with you regarding these ideas and some of the challenges your company or organization is facing. We can share some of the work we have done for our clients to help them be more productive. One thing is for sure, based on this research; branding and marketing as a discipline is going to continue to be challenging and difficult with more pressure put on it. Marketers need to rethink what they are doing, be innovative, be more productive and challenge the status quo. Let's talk soon.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Register For Inward's Free Webinar: Transforming Zurich Financial Services Into a Customer Centric Organization
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Join me online at The Conference Board's Webcast: Conference KeyNotes: Extending Your Brand to Employees Energizing Employees to “Own” the Brand
Conference KeyNotes: Extending Your Brand to Employees
Energizing Employees to “Own” the Brand
Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET Time Zone Converter
This Conference KeyNotes Webcast will provide highlights of The 2009 Extending Your Brand to Employees Conference (November, 2009). Video footage of two headline presentations will set context for live questions and answers with the presenters.
This webcast will discuss:
- Building a brand wise organization at Prudential
- Engaging employees in the entire Prudential brand experience
- How McDonald’s developed and implemented a global employee value proposition
Carol Robbins, Chief Branding Officer, Prudential Financial, Inc.
Brian Ray, Senior Director, Global HR Design Group, McDonald’s Corporation
Allan Steinmetz,CEO, Inward Strategic Consulting Inc.
Who Should Attend:
Senior executives responsible for branding, brand management, employee engagement, talent management, and employer branding.
Pre-Qualifications to Attend the Webcast:
No prior knowledge is needed to participate in this webcast.For more information and to register visit:
Monday, January 25, 2010
My friend Allan Steinmetz of Inward Strategic Consulting and I just finished a Webcast featuring EMC's story on building an employment brand and engaging employees by leveraging web 2.0 and social media behaviors /tools.
I discussed how the body of work started, our strategic approach, how the brand was built out across multiple mediums and social properties, and how along the way organic brand ambassadors emerged and started making real magic happen.
This topic always draws a large audience and today was no exception.
For those who want to start the social media/Web 2.0 behavior and tool movement at your company, I thought I'd share a few resources which could help:
- 1st: This white paper, "A Journey in Social Media," by EMC VP and Marketing CTO Chuck Hollis. Chuck was instrumental in this movement at EMC and kindly dedicated his personal cycles to pulling some of our strategic inflection points, key learnings, and approaches together in this white paper. The white paper is marked "draft" and his promises likely typos within it -- no matter, this is GOLD for anyone about to start the journey. It is a superb documentation which should save you a ton of headaches and unnecessary consultant fees. It is also filled with the type of frankness you just don't seen enough in businesss. Like this, which addresses the likely request for a business case, an ROI justification, or another means to counter the concerns of your Chief-Bummer-Executive.
One of our most effective justification techniques tended to be slightly manipulative given our corporate culture. We frequently pointed out to people that -- due to the extremely competitive nature of EMC and our business -- we would not want to be in a situation where our competitors had a significant competitive advantage through social media proficiency that we did not have. People tended to understand that concept in a very visceral manner. ----> I love that explanation! It is very "real world."
- 2nd: The blog, "Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang." Jeremiah is the top rated analyst in the social media and the enterprise space. He has the top blog on the subject, has been named the top (and most trusted) analyst on Twitter ... and puts out non-stop gems via his Twitter feed and blog.
- 3rd: The blog, a Journey in Social Media. Chuck Hollis documented EMC's journey over the first year or so on this blog. He doesn't post any longer, but the content is awesome and could answer lots of questions for those companies of this FORTUNE 500-size.
- 4th: The blog, "Confessions of an eBiz Junkie." It is written by EMC's Web Master -- the guy behind those .com, and Knowledge Management Platforms of the '90s ... which are morphing into the social platforms of the 21st Century. Len has been the guy getting his hands dirty in this technical stuff from the beginning -- and today serves as our head Social Media Strategist as well. Check out his tag cloud on this blog -- that will give you a feel for what he writes about all the time. I think you'll enjoy following his work.
- 5th: The blog, "Social Media Musings." It is written by EMC's Jamie Pappas, Len's parter in social media strategy and the woman who was chief community manager and chief Road Show Pitch Person at every staff meeting at EMCin the early 2.0 days doing show & tell on how this social network thing worked. Jamie is in the top professional organizations and can give you the inside scoop on worthy and waste-of-time things to consider as you move forward.
- 6th: My blog, "Building and Branding Careers, Culture and Cool." Hardly a post goes by here where I don't reference the positive transformation evidence at play in cultures, careers, brands, and business strategy as a result of the behavior models and tools in our 2.0 world. This blog provides case studies and stories, along with strategy and reports on our latest thinking with regard to engaging people and building brands.
And for those individuals who are still on the journey of understanding how this all works and getting personally comfortable with the tools and the career benefits, I recommend these resources:
- 7th: The blog, "Community and Social Media," by Chris Brogan. Chris offers a ton of free eBooks, a free newsletter and a very friendly blogging style which taught me a lot. Now he's a top consultant, and author in this area as well.
- 8th: The "blog roll" of every one of the above blogs. This is generally a list, listed on the right or left rail of the blog, of the favorite blogs these authors read. Poke around in there. See who these people are following.
- 9th: Twitter. Sign up and then leverage Twitter Lists or Twitter Search and type in words like "Social Media." Follow the pre-populated lists of people who write about that subject. Save Twitter, or a more robust version like "Tweet Deck" on your desktop. Visit it a couple times a day -- like when you need a stretch from email. See what content the gurus in this space are attaching, forwarding, and talking about. You'll be up-to-the minute in no time!
- 10th: Google Reader. This is your new daily newspaper and on-line mentor for how this world works. You pop all these blogs onto this one space, set it as your home page, and experience the learning start to happen! If you have an internet-enabled mobile device, be sure to bookmark your Google reader so you can have your "newspaper" with you where ever you go!
Okay, that's 10 Free Resources that will get you smart in no time. I'm talking about 30-60 days if you dedicate just a little bit of time each day on your Google Reader (it will also suggest blogs to you as well, based on who and what you show an interest in!), and on your Tweet Deck. You'll learn even faster if you join the discussions, post a comment and -- horrors -- start a blog.
For those who have a decent Gen Y dynamic at play in your company, here's a bonus:
- #11: Personal Branding Blog. Get in the head of the 2.0 movement via this blog's 20-something leader, author, speaker, and career counselor, Dan Schawbel. Dan has been my reverse mentor and chief cheerleader in gaining a hands-on experience in this space. I encourage you to get a reverse mentor of your own (someone of any age or rank who gets excited about this subject and clearly seems to 'get it.') Until you get that person, subscribe to Dan's blog. It is loaded with fresh research and insights and shows you how this 2.0 world can put a brand, including a personal brand, on steroids.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Social Media & Employee Engagement @ EMC with Polly Pearson, Vice President Employee Brand and Strategy Engagement