Week 4: Equipping and engaging employees to deliver on the brand promise.

Week 4: Equipping and engaging employees to deliver on the brand promise.

“What is brand engagement and why do you need it?…Defining your internal communication and training program…Embedding the brand throughout the organization…Measuring and tracking internal brand behavior…Key success factors for your brand engagement program…Closing remarks…”


  • 6.0 What is brand engagement and why do you need it?
  • 6.1 Defining your internal communication and training program.
  • 6.2 Embedding the brand throughout the organization
  • 6.3 Measuring and tracking internal brand behavior.
  • 6.4 Key success factors for your brand engagement program.
  • 6.5 Closing remarks

6.0 What is brand engagement and why do you need it?

  • Beyond the obvious, the brand the customer experiences are more efficient in delivering business results.
  • How do you achieve this? Through a brand engagement program.
  • At the rational level, because we need employees to understand what is the essence and the values of the brand so they can guide their business decisions.
  • Second, at a behavioral level, because we need them to have the tools that help them apply the brand at each assigned touch point.
  • Their CEO created a brand engagement program that was focused on creating a higher order purpose to engage all the employees.
  • The brand essence of the brand was wholesome meals in little time.
  • Namely, how to create and deliver a brand communication training program, how to embed the brand in the different touch points, and how to reward and measure the success of your program.
  • We will talk about the Brand Engagement Tool Kit, those elements that, in our experience, work most efficiently in helping employees understand and embrace a brand.
  • We will also talk about brand champions, or brand ambassadors, those individuals within organization that are already engaged with their brand and how we can leverage their passion to pass on to others.
  • Our ultimate goal is to create brand passionate employees.
  • It requires getting them hyped about how they can participate in building that brand, and lastly, once there, locating that end of the brand motivation spectrum, we need them to help others to build the strong brand.
  • So how will we know what engaged employees feels like? We have a lecture in metrics and how we can track every word employees for delivering a brand behavior aligned with our customer experience we discussed in our last module.
  • The first lecture is how to begin your branding engagement program.
  • Each of the sequence modules is about implementing one of the stages of the brand engagement program.

6.1 Defining your internal communication and training program.

  • If you remember, in the last lecture we introduced the concept of the brand engagement program.
  • The conceptual framework around which we develop the particular form of connection between employees and the brand.
  • The best way to make employees aware of the brand engagement initiative is through internal communication.
  • An internal campaign allows articulation of the brand role and values in a way that is relevant to the different internal stakeholders.
  • How likely are they to participate in a brand building effort? Their understanding of what a brand is and what your brand means for them.
  • The outcome should be the emergence of at least one or more segments according to their level of engagement with the brand.
  • As with external marketing, audience segmentation is key to set realistic objectives in the brand engagement program.
  • The enthusiast employees who felt that the brand was important and understood that everyone must help to deliver the brand.
  • The indifferent ones, those employees who think that the brand is important for the organization but they’re not really interested in either defining them or participating in how it should be implemented.
  • The messages should focus on the brand essence and values.
  • Such as asking people for example, of how brand values are already being implemented or should be implemented or simply for sharing their experiences in the program.
  • Training should cover why brands are important, what your customer’s are and their needs, how the brand was developed based on those customer needs, what the brand means, how employees can bring the brand to life through their personal activities and interaction Videos bring the brand to life in a way that are two dimensional presentation can’t.
  • In any case a brand training session is recommended for all employees.
  • Lastly, elements such as the intranet or a brand kit or the ones that despite being more complex in creating will continue the brand engagement for the long term.
  • If you think of brand kits, we suggest to use something that employees can wear, which has the dual purpose of helping employees demonstrate pride in the company both in and outside of the office and serve as a daily reminder of the brand values they are bringing to life.
  • For longer term, the best resource is having a dedicated Internet site that can serve as a hub for employees where they can find and share brand training materials, tools to help them implement the brand in their daily tasks, such as touch point exercises, updates on brand champions activities and other initiatives.
  • We’ll talk about brand champions in the next session.
  • Information about brand related rewards and recognition.
  • Lastly, I would like to highlight a crucial element to consider when launching your brand engagement program.
  • Employees will only participate and engage if they see that the organization’s leadership is committed to delivering the brand.
  • So you might be asking yourself, who is responsible for these activities? The answer will come in the next lecture, which is about embedding the brand throughout the organization.

6.2 Embedding the brand throughout the organization

  • In this first lecture of this module, we introduce the concept of the brand engagement program.
  • In the last lecture, we talked about how you could create and deliver a brand communication and training program, which is the first of the three steps of the brand engagement program.
  • In this lecture, you will learn how you can embed the brand throughout the organization.
  • Before we begin, you need to select some key people who will be your brand champions, or brand ambassador teams.
  • The brand champion team will have the responsibility of the daily operations of the brand engagement program.
  • The team defines how to embed the values in every prioritized touch point in the short term, and plans and leads the brand engagement program in the long term.
  • Their role is to ensure that the brand is brought to life in the key touch points, those we discussed in our last module.
  • They will do this by defining sub-teams, which many times involve more than one function, that work on embedding the desired appearance at the prioritized touch point.
  • In summary, the brand champion team defines priorities, divides in functional sub-teams.
  • Defines outcomes and work plans for each initiative, recruit functional people, provide guidance in implementing, are the go to persons for assistance, create communication content and training.
  • What time commitment does it require from brand champions? In our experience, this group requires an initial two to three working sessions to establish priorities and a master plan.
  • Once activities are defined, it is a part time job which also requires recognition from the organization, ideally from top leadership.
  • First, you should analyze whether you need to divide your touch points into sub-touch points.
  • Once we’ve identified these sub-touch points, you want to define the minimum required that each needs to be competitive.
  • Now we move into the second step, which is defining that ideal experience.
  • You need to look at each of your brand value definitions and evaluate how they can be represented.
  • If one our brand values is that the brand is defined as being sustainable, you might consider having a self-lighted car parking using solar panels.
  • You want to identify elements which could potentially enhance the ideal experience that you have defined.
  • Make sure that you’ve had added is aligned with definitions of your brand values.
  • The best way to test this is to present these touch point explanations through images to your target customers, or your most loyal customers, because that will make them even more engaged with your brand.
  • First, you need to define action items, take that touch point design and translate into tangible action items and metrics.
  • Second, take the desired ideal experience, the customer view, aligned with brand values, defined with metrics that will guide the performance of the sub-touch points and identify the organizational requirements that you need.
  • You should determine milestones and timings, defining the most critical elements during the process and set a completion date.
  • Lastly, you can define a touch point governance initiative.
  • Although this part of the brand engagement seems like a daunting task, it is something that you don’t do holistically every year, but every so often, or when you launch or re-launch your brand.
  • Think about how you would embed a brand at these touch points.
  • Now that we know how to embed the brand throughout the organization, we need to learn how to measure and reward brand behavior.

6.3 Measuring and tracking internal brand behavior.

  • In the last lecture we talked about one of the components of the program, how you can embed the brand throughout the organization.
  • Our experience is that ultimately on brand behavior needs to be experienced by everyone internally and perceived by external stakeholders.
  • In the first phase the objective is to create awareness of the brand, which we call, the hearing phase.
  • The second phase is about making employees believe the importance of the brand.
  • The last phase is where employees are passionate about the brand and we call it the living it phase.
  • We should use recognition and reward for both groups, our employees and our brand champions.
  • When we talk about employees first, are objectives for them to become aware of the brand.
  • First, we sent an email to all supervisors and brand champions to nominate the brand ambassadors of the period.
  • Among the following persons that were nominated, who do you think best embodies a particular brand value during this period? The description of the brand values was included, of course.
  • In the second phase our objective is for employees to believe the brand values.
  • Such as most on-brand department, the best implementation process for embedding the brand, the best implementation of metrics, the best on-brand behavior for a specific value, etc.
  • In the third phase, our objective is to have employees embrace and bring to life the brand values across touch points in the different functions while supporting others.
  • The KPI might be the launch of a specific initiative that embedded the brand values in your critical touch points in which they have participated.
  • The second type of recognition and reward that we should consider is for our brand champions.
  • During the initial hearing it phase, their role is to become the living example of brand behavior.
  • During the believing it phase, their role evolves to support others in promoting initiatives for embedding the brand in the differing departments.
  • During the living it phase, their role is more of a team effort that develops and follows through the initiatives for embedding the brand across touch points in the different functions.
  • An organization will work with every quarter of the brand champion presented, every touch points team’s result to the management committee.
  • The latter chose which was the best brand champion team of the period based on completion of the touch point activities plan, assistance and participation to the team meetings the team that had both more activities completed and more participation got recognized and rewarded.
  • So it’s just maintaining excitement among employees and brand champions, demonstrating organizational commitment, drawing attentions to the behaviors of the company which is to reinforce.
  • In creating tangible models for employees to understand how to act on a specific brand attributes.
  • What can we do to track and reward on-brand behavior? Now that we know how to measure a reward on-brand behavior, I would like to share with you some key success factors that we have identified over the years in companies that launched brand engagement programs.

6.4 Key success factors for your brand engagement program.

  • If you have followed the previous lectures you should be equipped to engage your employees to deliver your brand and track results.
  • When working with one of the largest real estate developers in we launch a brand engagement program immediately after a long re-branding exercise that had the full participation of top management.
  • The brand engagement program was a joint initiative of H.R. and marketing, but had the endorsements of some of top leadership.
  • When they were in meetings with internal or external stakeholders, their actions were in contradiction with what the brand stood for.
  • They had not changed their behaviors according to the new brand values.
  • After investing in communications, training and having teams work for six months on key touch points, the program began to fade away.
  • With a brand that meant nothing to customers because all they communicated in advertising and not delivered at the key touch points.
  • The third success factor is to adopt employee source initiatives alive with the brand values, such as contest for example.
  • BP for years runs its Helios award scheme, which honored projects and work that embodied the company’s brand values, green, innovation, performance, and progressive.
  • The Helios award program, acted as a powerful way to unify over 100,000 people or 1 single brand with 1 sense of purpose.
  • The program recognized the achievements of their people who had put the brand values into practice and celebrated their success.
  • The program provided a platform for sharing creativity and best practices to bring in business benefits across all the groups.
  • The fourth success factor is a brand engagement initiative should be given the opportunity to complete their own cycle.
  • The longest lasting impact comes from programs that have been perfected through continuous iterations.
  • The 3M brand has sustainability and innovation at its core.
  • 3M’s annual energy recognition program boosts employee participation and provides an individual the sense of accomplishment in its manufacturing plants.
  • The program was established in 2003 and formulates a 4 level rating system from bronze to platinum based on their internal energy program dashboards and scorecards.
  • Another success factor is to maintain continuous communication of your program.
  • A sixth success factor is to delegate a recognition share to employees through peer-to-peer programs.
  • Because it transfers to employees the responsibility of defining, identifying, and rewarding those behaviors that are best aligned for the brand values.
  • The program Customer First is a peer-to-peer recognition program that allows employees to recognize one another with points for exceeding customer expectations or making it easier to do business with American Express incentive services.
  • Always keep generating and maintaining brand engagement initiative as one of the highest priorities within the organization.
  • All new hires including manager’s positions have to undergo a four week immersion program that includes answering customer calls.
  • The program called Check-to-Leave consist of negative reward.
  • The business risk of incurring in the cost of bringing a person who doesn’t epitomize the brand values, is higher than paying him off to leave.

6.5 Closing remarks

  • In module two, we looked at developing a compelling brand for your product, and how to inspire stakeholders.
  • We then moved to look at brand architecture and naming, and how to communicate the offering.
  • Module four focused on building the brand portfolio to maximize its value and support growth, which led us into module five, and translating your brand into a compelling customer experience.
  • Finally, in the module we have looked at equipping and engaging employees to deliver the brand promise and the challenges that that can bring.

Return to Summaries.

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