This week, I was invited to present my Brandful Worfkorce model at a small private executive forum hosted at Hertz Headquarters in New Jersey and convened by The Institute for Corporate Productivity also known as i4cp. While I enjoy presenting at both small and large audiences, the benefit of a small, intimate audience is the chance to really interact and have a dialogue. What I’m noticing more and more, especially having recently moved from the corporate environment to my own independent venture, is that the divide is growing between corporate and non-corporate, particularly in the realm of social media. It is much more difficult for large corporations to keep up with new technologies and leverage them to their advantage while smaller organizations can move in and capture a unique niche. However, if employees within large corporations were treated as individual entrepreneurs, maybe that would not be the case. See my blog about LinkedIn’s program. Anyway, that was not the point of today’s blog, but it was on my mind.
What I wanted to talk about was whether or not I “cracked the code.” You may ask, “What code?” Answer: The code to corporate success. After having presented my roadmap on how to build a workforce that promotes the brand – see my blog on the Brandful Workforce Overview – the participant from Cisco came over the me and asked: “So you don’t have to be a Richard Brandson or Steve Jobs -or some godlike leader – to build a brandful workforce?” I said, “No, of course not.” And he replied: “Then Julia, you cracked the code!” If anyone can do it, then it opens the door to many other organizations. He wanted to know if a brandful workforce was something that could be created in a mature organization that had no history of involving the employees in the brand – or did it only apply to startups, where it had to be built from the beginning. I do absolutely believe it applies to any type of organization at any level of maturity. It just may take more time and effort.
The Cisco participant then introduced an example. He mentioned Saturn – the car company. From his point of view – he described Saturn as a company that started out with a cool car and everyone loved it. The employees were quite thrilled to promote it. Then, the car changed and in his view – became a bad product. (He phrased it differently.) The employees were no longer promoting it and he wondered if it was how leadership were treating the employees. According to the brandful workforce roadmap, employees cannot promote a product that is not stellar, no matter how they are treated by management. So much of the work that management does to foster positive relations with employees is not going to amount to anything if the product stinks.
The Brandful Workforce roadmap is quite simple. It’s usually the organizations that get lost in the weeds of their business – rather than focus on the three keys to a brandful workforce, which also happen to be keys to general success: a solid business model, customer promise and employee promise. Did I crack the code?
Will Email Be Dead in 5 Years?
What does that have to do with a brandful workforce? I stumbled across this video of internal communication professionals, who talk about the need for organizations to open up their communication channels. They say that “technology has blurred the lines between internal and external communication” and organizations can learn from their employees. They mention that social networking could replace email as a main channel of communication, and that the workforce has the power to transform the way we do business. It’s incredible to imagine the potential power of the workforce (for good or bad). The sooner organizations realize this, the more likely they’ll be able to take actions that will help their brand, rather than hurt it. What do you think? Check out the video here – if you don’t have 13 minutes to view it, skip to minute 10:45 to see the ending.
If this is your first time on my blog, please check out my other posts – all on a brandful workforce- where employees promote the brand!
I noticed this youtube video with over 80,000 views, from a former employee at Forever 21. It’s a rather long video – over 12 minutes – and I’m not suggesting to view the entire thing, however, I predict that these types of videos will become much more prevalent as the use of online video rises. Those organizations that know how to take care of their employees well, and that have a workforce that truly cares about the brand, will be able to move ahead of those who don’t. Check out the video here.
Please share your comments on whether or not this is brandful. Or share other videos.
I continue my hunt for examples of brandful employees and today, I found another great one! The title of this Forbes article really aligns with the entire essence of what it means to be brandful: “How Just One Great Employee Can Make the Brand.” Getting a glimpse of the employee, Mike Miller, through the article, validates my brandful recruiting model on how to bring brandful employees into your organization. Wouldn’t you just assume that any employee at a pet store, should be a pet owner? Sure, then why don’t all teachers have children or plan to have children? Or why don’t folks who work for an airline love traveling? Or folks that work at electronics stores, own a lot of electronics? It seems so common-sensical (is that word?) but all too often, I find employees who are completely out of touch with the core business they are delivering.
Anyway, back to Mike Miller, PetSmart and the article. Mike, of course, owns a dog, and is 100% passionate about pets and helping them…and I mean genuinely. This is what I would call a good “brand match.” Mike is getting paid to do what he loves. You don’t need to incentivize Mike – like give him a $25 gift card if he sells a certain amount of products. There’s no price you can pay someone that will improve his performance, if what he does comes from his heart. Mike clearly does what he does because of his passion. And this translates to his customers, one of whom, wrote this article. Click here to read it. If this is your first time on my site, please join me in helping employees and employers to become more brandful – and truly express their brand authentically.
My hunt for brandful employees -employees who promote the brand of the organization- continues! This time, I found a fantastic video – 100% authentic- from the interns at ClearVision Optical. They sing “Hire Me Maybe,”a parody inspired by Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me, Maybe.” Watch it here and please answer me: What intern wouldn’t want to work at this company?
If this is your first time on my blog, welcome to the Brandful Workforce – where employees work FOR the brand, rather than against it. The world of branding is changing, in a big way, and the voice of the employees is more crucial than ever before. Learn more about how to build a brandful workforce or become part of one, in my new book – The Brandful Workforce.
Another example of how swag can spread the brand. So I was on the road recently and came across this truck that had the words: “World Leader in Telecom Services” and the Ericsson name and logo – It was much classier than a bumper sticker. Had to take a picture. I’m not sure if this truck is owned by an employee, but my guess is yes. It may even be owned by Ericsson, but it’s such a great company, I wouldn’t be surprised if the owner of the truck proudly placed these words on himself voluntarily!