San Jose PayPals are Not Brandful

Soon after writing my last blog post, PayPal’s President, David Marcus, did exactly what I had advised not to do. He threatened his employees to use PayPal products or leave the company.  While that is one way to transform your workforce into a brandful one, it is not what I recommend.

I commend Marcus for being on the forefront of understanding the value that his workforce brings to the success of his company. Most CEOs do not rely enough on their employees to build the brand. In an email to his “San Jose PayPals” he asserts: “everyone at PayPal should use our products where available. That’s the only way we can make them better, and better.” This kind of executive mindset is exactly what’s needed in any organization that wants to build or sustain a brandful workforce. However, how you do it, needs to be effective and genuine.

Let’s not forget, people are not only rational, but emotional human beings. While it may seem simple: “Just tell them what you want them to do,” it doesn’t work that way. Last year, I wrote about the emergence and growing importance of the field of organizational psychology to the corporation. It brings something to the table that the traditional MBA approach misses: feelings. And yes, we all have them.

What PayPal needs to do is better understand why the employees in San Jose are not as brandful as those in other locations. Marcus says they don’t use PayPal or refer business nearly as much as the rest of the employees, who are so passionate about PayPal that they even hack into vending machines to make them accept PayPal. Trying to change behavior without understanding it does not make sense. Hey, I get that businesses need to move quickly, but consider the consequences of doing it the wrong way.

I tried reaching out to Marcus to see if I could help. http://brandfulworkforce.com/jose-paypals-brandful/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/jose-paypals-brandful/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/jose-paypals-brandful/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/jose-paypals-brandful/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/jose-paypals-brandful/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/jose-paypals-brandful/ http://brandfulworkforce.com/jose-paypals-brandful/Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can read an article and the full email he sent out.

Check out more Brandful Workforce blog posts or download the book, The Brandful Workforce: How Employees Can Make, Not Break Your Brand, on your kindle app.

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).

Canadian Brandful Workforce

Having spent part of my summer in Canada, I have to include one of my favorite Canadian brands in this week’s post: Tristan, a men’s and women’s apparel company. I first discovered Tristan in about 1998 when I was working in Times Square in New York City. They had a location on Avenue of the Americas and 49th Street, that I would frequent in between meetings. And then one day, it was gone. This summer, while I was in Toronto having dinner at The Pickle Barrel across from The Eaton Center, my waitress started talking about her second job as an assistant manager at Tristan. I asked her why they closed the New York store and she explained: “We realized much of our customer base, not only loved our line of clothes, but were dedicated to buying Canadian. This didn’t necessarily work in New York.” I thought about Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue and all the major clothing stores, and could understand the difficulties that may have hit Tristan.

But it wasn’t just the branding toward consumers that could have been tough. I wondered if it would have been possible for any non-Canadian employee -like an American – to be equally as passionate and proud. I could tell how passionate my waitress was about Tristan, and how proud she was that it was Canadian. She told us all about the new technology that Tristan was putting in its stores whereby customers could virtually try on different combinations of clothing to see how it would look instead of going in the dressing room. And she told us about the expansion of the company and her face lit up with excitement as she spoke. Could that have been the reason for the failure of the Tristan store in New York? That the employees were not as good brand ambassadors as those from Canada? Or was it that the competition of other international apparel brands was too fierce?

I guess I’ll never know for sure. But judging from the Tristan employee I met in Toronto, the company is alive and well – with a Canadian brandful workforce.

Don’t Do It For Employee Retention- Do It Because You Believe In It!

I saw an article this week entitled, 86% of Employees Not Engaged By Companies’ Sustainability Programs. You can read it here. It says that while many organizations promote sustainability, most employees are dissatisfied with their employers’ sustainability efforts. And many believe that organizations do it just for marketing and sales.

I do believe that some organizations push corporate social responsibility programs, like sustainability, as way to attract and retain employees. Most likely, an executive came up with the idea because that’s what college graduates want. And in order to attract them, that’s what you have to have. If you develop any program, not because it’s the right thing to do, but solely because it’s a means to an end, it will not help you in the long-run.  

The brandful workforce roadmap is about authenticity and passion. Keep your eye on what special product or service you deliver and how it benefits society. In this, you will find the right citizenship platform that really will propel your brand as well as your community.

One of the six channels through which employees can promote the brand of the organization is citizenship, or as I like to call it, “doing good.” When employees can get out and do something they care about, that truly makes a difference in the world, and to the organization, they want to promote that everywhere, because they are proud.

I highlight two areas that are most critical to building an authentic citizenship program:

One is alignment with the business. There should be a sensible connection between the cause and the product or service of the organization. Take Hagen Daaz. They had a big campaign to protect the honeybee. This makes perfect sense because they use honey in their ingredients. I wish all programs could be so simply connected.

Two is internal support. Employees need to be able to participate in the programs, provided time, resources and moral support.

When employee participation in your corporate social responsibility programs is low, that’s a bad sign. Employees should not be incentivized to participate. Re-think your strategy. Make sure it is integrated to your business and there is real passion behind it. You can really make a difference and so can your employees.

 

Will Email Be Dead in 5 Years?

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!

Former Employee Video- Brandful or UN-Brandful? You Decide

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.

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PetSmart – Brandful Example

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.

ClearVision Optical – Brandful Example

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.

Company profits can be helped by employees

Are Human Capital Analytics professionals allowed to question the business model? I mean, we’re not MBA’s, are we?  But much of our work with analytics boils down to linking people to business results. But what if the actual business is not doing well to begin with?  Will it really matter that the company’s latest employee programs and training are generating more revenue and reducing costs when the mothership is sinking?  Can we really take pride in our own silo achievements or as Human Resources and Learning professionals, should we be a bit more assertive when it comes to integrating people with business strategy?

Introducing the Brandful Workforce:  a workforce that actively represents and promotes the brand.  This concept leaves no choice but for the business strategy to include the employees.  It breaks down the silos between marketing, finance, human resources, learning and development, corporate communication and operations. It shows that the power of a good brand not only improves customer loyalty but internally it unites and delights the workforce toward a common goal.

A common goal calls for collaboration which requires integration, which brings us back to data….data integration.  Who’s in charge of corporate data integration at your company? It’s starting to get hairy.  If you haven’t seen it yet, get ready. Each silo is struggling to keep control of their respective data, but yet, if there was a common unifying factor (like brand) and more cooperation, each department could hopefully see the value in each other’s perspective.

Can you tell that my original training was as a mediator?  With this upbringing deeply engrained in all my work, I don’t believe one silo should win out over another to be in charge of the data or the business model. It should be a true collaboration and humble approach that calls for real learning from each other.

That means folks need to be open to new perspectives, one of which comes from Dr. Adrienne Gans of New York University’s Psychology Department. She recently provided me some insightful thinking on the differences between an MBA and psychology student perspective on business. According to Dr. Gans, “The psychologist takes multiple aspects of human capital issues into account in deploying a strategy or program – and does not assume that a good business strategy can be executed without attention to human factors. Deploying a marketing campaign, new product, and branding and rebranding, etc. is as much about understanding and managing people as conducting the product analysis.” What will happen if we continue to leave the business to the business? Aren’t we part of the business?

So what do you think? Can we bring a different and valuable perspective to the business model or should we just stick to our own comfort zone? I don’t know about you, but I like to push the envelope.