Facebook Not Good Enough for Marketing Execs?

Aside

This week Forrester,the marketing research group, released results from a recent  survey filled out by almost 400 marketing executives. The main question was:  How satisfied are you with the business value your company has achieved by using each of the following marketing channels? Executives were asked to giving a rating for each channel. You can gather from the title of this blog that Facebook did not receive the most favorable ratings. So, are we to conclude that companies should abandon marketing efforts via Facebook? I don’t think so.

I’m not defending Facebook. In fact, I don’t have any particular interest in any paid marketing channel. What rubbed me wrong here is the approach. Why is the conversation still around paid media, like advertising, when it’s the earned media, like employees or customers sharing content freely and genuinely, that can create longer-term business value.  Some of the marketing dollars should be allocated to improve the actual products and services so that marketing efforts can really pay off.

Message to Forrester: If you don’t ask the right questions, you will never get valuable answers. The biggest question that I’m focused on right now is: How can employees bring value to the brand?  By investing marketing dollars internally, it can pay off externally. The internal and the external organization cannot continue to exist separately. While it may not pay to invest marketing dollars directly in Facebook, but it may pay to invest these dollars internally with employees who spread your brand message through their personal Facebook pages. Don’t be fooled. Employees talk. Wouldn’t you rather them spread positive authentic brand messages? Not just Facebook, but any marketing channel, can stand to be leveraged by internal, engaged employees who truly love the products and services they deliver every day.

(see the article about Forrester’s research)

State Employees Can Be Brandful

When you think about the workforce and who’s proud of the services they provide, you may think of employees at Disney, Apple, or Google. But who would think of a federal or state employee? Should their jobs be taken for granted as something they have to do? No.  Any government (city, state or federal) can and should be in the business of delighting taxpayers and putting their money to good use – in a way that motivates employees to continue to provide for their communities as best they can.

For example, the state of Tennessee may be looking to their employees to help promote their entertainment brand. This article mentions that employees are engaging in social media to spread interest in ABC’s show “Nashville,” which may be attracting more business to the state. There’s so much that employees can do on their own initiative, that’s genuine and heartfelt that will support Tennessee’s brand. Large corporations, like those mentioned above, have empowered their staff to create new products and services, and by doing so, have actually been able to meet consumer demand. If governments take similar actions, there’s no telling how much their services and reputations can improve.

And by the way, a state can and does have a brand. In my upcoming book, The Brandful Workforce, I argue that every entity has a brand, whether they know it or not. A brand is simply what people say about you behind closed doors. Kudos to the state of Tennessee for getting in front of its brand, calling it out and involving its employees to push it forward.

To be notified when the book is available for purchase, please sign up at www.brandfulworkforce.com.

How Much Is a Brandful Employee Worth?

Never mind calculating your company’s brand value, let’s skip straight to your individual employees. Sure, they are hired to do a job, and getting that job done is first and foremost. However in this age of customer and employee engagement where success is built on authentic and on-going relationships, every employee can be doing more than getting their work done. That’s what a brandful employee is all about – being a part of the growing brand and adding value to it.

But how significant can one employee be to the brand? When you think about the thousands or millions of individual interactions that make up a company’s product or service offering, you can begin to understand and appreciate the value at the individual level. One employee can make or break the brand for any given customer. And this is where the focus should be.

Here are some questions to consider:

• Are your employees set up on social networks to best advocate for your brand? (either helping with recruitment or customer engagement)
• Do your employees participate in product or service innovation?
• Are your citizenship efforts integrated with your brand and the employee experience?

Once you know the value your workforce brings to your brand, you’ll also learn how to increase that value. The power of building a brandful workforce is that it simultaneously improves both customer and employee engagement. For more on this topic, follow my blog at www.brandfulworkforce.com/blog, follow me on twitter (@juliagometz) or join the LinkedIn Group (The Brandful Workforce).

Using YouTube For Employee Relations?

Recently I wrote about the different ways in which employees can leave their employers involuntarily or voluntarily. One employee, Marina Shifrin, quit by communicating through a viral video (now up to almost nine million views on Youtube). A few days after her viral video and departure from the company, her employer released a retaliatory video featuring her boss and fellow employees who all seem to enjoy working there.

Anyone following this may now start to wonder what really happened between Marina and her boss, and why this is happening on Youtube?  Many folks fantasize about how, when and where they will quit. They are envious of Marina. On the other hand, there are those crazy employees who just don’t fit in, and even though they hate work, everyone else seems to love it. These are probably in the minority however one employee’s actions do not necessarily represent the masses. Just think about a few postal workers that went crazy and gave a bad name to all postal workers. Apply this to Marina’s fellow employees and maybe she was the oddball out?

We may learn more details over time. Whether or not we do, this is an intriguing scenario. First, it’s interesting from an employee relations standpoint, in that it shows the use and power of video resignations, as well as organizational responses. The employer is a small company but would a larger company have done something similar? Will this end up being a net positive for Marina? If so, will it encourage other employees to attempt similar tactics?  Second, it reinforces the increasing power of individual employees.  It reminds me of why I’m a believer in being brandful – and having a strategy that places employees in their greatest potential to support the brand, rather than bash it. In a prior post, I wrote about the importance of continuing goodwill long after employees leave, regardless of the circumstances of their departures. Ongoing respect is part of that.

Will we continue to see more employee relations matters on Youtube? What do you think?

 

I Quit!

A long time ago, it was rare for someone to quit. People stayed in the same job for years and years, and even more years, until retirement or death, whichever came first. Today, the opposite is true. Change is so rapid that it’s hard to predict the future of any organization, let alone job or role.  So when I stumbled across this video, I thought: “Ah, a new way to say ‘Adios’ to your boss.” Quite creative, especially given the fact that the employer was a video production company…not surprising that the employee’s video of her quitting, went viral immediately. Maybe her boss was  happy that she finally produced a viral video, however maybe he or she wasn’t anticipating it would be her goodbye video that would get the most number of views.

But not everybody quits. Some leave unwillingly. Like the employee who was fired by the AOL Chief during a recorded staff meeting. She was taping the internal conversation, a big “no-no” if you listen to the recording, which shouldn’t have been recorded in the first place. What a way to go, publicly in front of the entire company and then later publicized to the world.

Some folks quit, but go about it in the wrong way, like the JetBlue flight attendant, who illegally deployed a slide. At the end of his flight, he simply slid down the slide and attempted to leave…for good.

Some folks do it the right way. Well at least, it is well-intended, like the Goodwill employee who was just trying to help folks pay for the merchandise by reducing the prices. The teenage employee was only wanting to help and do “good” as suggested by the name of his employer. But Goodwill didn’t see it that way, fired him and pressed charges, according to the news story.

How does this relate to our topic of The Brandful Workforce- which is a workforce that promotes the brand of the organization? In all of the cases above and in most employee departures, it is critical to keep in mind that the brand of the organization, that the employee leaves behind, continues. And it continues with or without that employee. It is incumbent upon every organization to ensure that every departure can reflect the brand integrity – and if it doesn’t, the organization should take a good look at itself. For more about brandful, read my other posts.