Tag: branding

Guest post by Steve Friedman, chief strategist and principal at CPG Agency, and Fred Bendaña, vice president of sales at Express Scripts.

“The employer generally gets the employee he deserves.”

–J. Paul Getty

Getty’s quote cuts right to the heart of why employee engagement is so important. Unless you purposely align your internal and external brand strategies with and through your people, you cannot expect to generate the success that other well-respected, people-centered brands are experiencing.

We view engagement as the critical intersection where passion meets action and where the “employee first” values, beliefs, and attitudes a company intentionally focuses on drives the day-to-day practices of their organization. Engagement occurs when you establish a lasting emotional connection with employees. You accomplish that when employees feel these five basic needs are being met:

  • You genuinely care about me.
  • You appreciate me (and tell me so).
  • You listen to me.
  • We have open communication and mutual trust.
  • We share a meaningful purpose.

Brands that lean into their culture, such as Southwest Airlines, Panera Bread, Ulta Beauty, and Express Scripts, are leveraging creative, experiential strategies to engage their people. This critical step is what transforms employees into brand ambassadors. And that’s how you sustainably grow business.

We understand how impactful “belief through experience” can be. We’ve worked together with each of these aforementioned brands to drive success through live events and internal communications.

On February 9, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., we will join Olin Business School for an all-day seminar to share how to integrate engagement, collaboration, and formal recognition within an organization.

During this interactive workshop, we’ll share how brands such as Southwest Airlines activate high-performing teams and bring their own mission and values to life. When it comes to driving stakeholder engagement, we’ll help identify the different tools and innovative methods that connect a workforce and builds powerful brands.

Limited seats remain, so register for Building a Brand Through Workforce Engagement and discover how to engage and retain the employees your brand deserves.

PLEASE NOTE: This seminar qualifies for one day out of four in the Talent Management & Organizational Development Concentration. Earn a concentration by taking four seminar days in this area within two years, or complete 16 seminar days across four defined concentration areas to earn your Advanced Management Certificate.

When Marketplace asked Patrick Rishe about the potential of advertising brand-fatigue among NBA sports fans, Olin’s director of the sports business program, said, “No.”

Even with the NBA Developmental League re-branding next season as the “G” League after Gatorade bought the naming rights?

Even after the NBA lets teams sell advertising space on the upper-left corner of player’s jerseys next season?

“Rishe… doesn’t think people are going to tire of branding anytime soon,”according to the Marketplace story. “I am not concerned about the over saturation,” he said. “And I think though some purists may say that they are, let’s see how they feel two or three years from now. I doubt they’ll raise a fuss then. The sports consumer will adapt.”

Link to Marketplace story.

As presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make their last-minute pushes for votes before the Nov. 8 election, an Olin Business School faculty member said the tight race boils down, in part, to poor political branding practices.

“Corporate managers know that in order to sell a product, you have to brand it,” said Raphael Thomadsen, associate professor of marketing at Olin Business School. “Branding means creating a promise for the product and infusing every customer interaction with that meaning. Branding is critically important not just in business, but in politics, too. However, the Democrats chose not to brand Hillary Clinton in this election.”



Thomadsen, whose research focuses on marketing management and strategy, said Clinton’s camp failed to rise to the branding challenge: Instead of giving her a clear, consistent message, it provided messages that were muddled and scattered. Thomadsen contrasted that with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, noting his campaign material constantly backs up that slogan.

“Trump’s branding is clear,” said Thomadsen. “His voters know why they are voting for him.  Clinton, in contrast, has not branded herself. A brand must be built by repeating your message and framing each talking point within that message. At times, Clinton has tried to create a brand with slogans such as ‘Stronger Together,’ however the execution failed to be consistent. Go to hillaryclinton.com and you might see a video entitled ‘When you’re 27 million strong.’ However, there are also lots of messages on other themes. There is no slogan anywhere on that page that creates a common message across the material. That is not a brand.”

Thomadsen also noted that Clinton’s campaign could have pivoted and tried to brand Trump in a negative way, but here again it never stuck on a consistent theme. While Clinton certainly critiqued Trump, Thomadsen maintained that she didn’t create a lasting branding framework to effectively sway over voters.

“Perhaps they felt there were too many potential messages,” he explained. “Should they focus on the mistreatment of women? On his lies? On his financial dealings? Clinton often critiqued Trump, but her campaign didn’t create a lasting framework with which to string together each of Trump’s scandals. This was a lost branding opportunity for the campaign.

“Ultimately, Hillary Clinton didn’t effectively brand herself, so Trump did it for her,” Thomadsen continued. “Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ terminology is ubiquitous. In the absence of any coordinated message against this, that brand has stuck.”

Guest blogger: Erika Ebsworth-Goold

The word ‘brand’ evokes perplexity. Some understand the word, and others struggle to understand it. Personally, I feel like I am somewhere in the twilight zone.

To be honest, for many brands I use, it’s not easy to define why I would be proud of, respect, and ultimately put my money where my feelings are. However, I do know that there are certain brands that I would most certainly pay a premium for. Case in point: Apple. I am completely hooked on to the Apple ecosystem. I use every product and service that the tech giant offers (except the iPad).

There are certain truths I have gathered along my consumer lifecycle with brands, and these truths are also essential to developing a personal brand:

Know your weaknesses, but focus on your strengths more

Brands know their weaknesses, but they amplify their strengths. Apple knew that hardware software integration could be a weakness, and it lost market share to the open source movement exemplified by Microsoft Windows riding on IBM PC’s, Linux, and Android. However, it focused on integration as a method of creating a beautiful and simple user experience. So much so that, the switching costs of moving to iOS from a different operating system are nearly zero (except for the cost of the device, of course).

There is a tremendous clamor for simplicity and beauty today. While Apple’s weakness can be argued as it’s pushed toward integration, that integration has created a user experience making Apple the most valuable brand in 2016 at $146 billion. As Sun Tzu explains in The Art of War, if you know your enemy and you know yourself, the battle is won even before it begins.

This concept is very profound, and very difficult to implement. Do you truly know yourself? Do you understand your weaknesses? Focus on your strengths more and build on them. The combination of these two simple practices can multiply your personal growth exponentially.

Consistency is key to respect

Ultimately, everyone craves respect and love. Monetary success is a means to a greater end but is not the end in itself. Great brands have been consistent at delivering value over extended periods of time. Citigroup is more than 200 years old. However, it has serviced client needs in more than 180+ countries by consistently innovating and delivering on its promises. However, that doesn’t mean brands—and by extension, people—don’t make mistakes. Their consistency provides them a second and possibly a third chance where lesser known brands would crumble. The mountain goat is a classic example of slowly and consistently moving towards and achieving goals. Consistent behavior is slow, hard, and requires tenacity. There are no shortcuts to a reputation.

Proceed with a higher motivation

Don’t let money and hubris be your primary motivators. The higher motivation is living for others. While it may sound too deep, it’s actually quite simple and translates into ‘do unto others what you would have do to yourself.’ If you empathize with the people you deal with, you build a bridge to their heart as well as their brain. Great brands understand that, and have now refocused their efforts on looking at their offerings from a client-centric view.

Respect and brands are built over centuries and can crumble in a week. But, knowing that a great brand’s valuation is a rough quantification of the respect it has earned from people across the world should prompt you to use its products or services—or even better, be part of it’s heritage and work for it.

This post was originally featured on Medium and was republished with permission from the author.

WordPress Blog Post: Why Businesses Should Blog

As a founder, you are always looking for ways to better interact with your customers. Anything you can do to better establish your client relationship, while better getting to know them, is an advantage.

One of the best ways to do this is through a company blog.

Why businesses should blog

Companies that blog consistently are able to create an effective voice and brand. Customers love interacting with brands and will go out of their way to buy from them. A blog creates an open space for people to talk directly to you and about the current industry. You can use it as a platform to share company updates, industry knowledge, and timely topics.

Drive new traffic to your site

Blogging is not only a great way to engage current users, but also a means of driving new customers to your site. Content marketing efforts can all be propelled by a blog. You can use everything that you write and share your message on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogger, in e-mail newsletters–and the list goes on. It is free PR for your business and can keep you relevant in the conversation.

Better understand your clients

Another great benefit of blogging is it lets you understand your customers better. It gives you another opportunity to hear their ideas and comments and engage in conversation. You get insight into what they are thinking so that you can tailor your marketing efforts toward them. Blogging is a vital step in establishing a real relationship with customers.

Modern technology makes it really, really easy for anyone to start writing and sharing. Services like Medium and WordPress can get you up and running in less than five minutes. Seriously, there is no excuse to not get started.

Editor’s note: Want to get started? We are accepting contributions from students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Once you do, there are few things you have to worry about. The first being a consistent, quality stream of content. As a business, you want to find a balance between quantity and quality. While I’d argue that quantity may hold supreme when it comes to blogging, you still want to represent your brand properly. So blog with confidence but also with awareness.

Unlock new metrics about your audience

Another thing that a lot of companies forget to do is establish metrics to measure the ROI on their efforts. Know that you must measure this in the long run to see any effect. This is not a short-term solution! Analytics programs will be able to tell you all of the relevant statistics, but you may need to go further and figure out exactly what it is you want to be looking for. This answer may be industry specific, but once you come up with your key metrics and goals, stick to them and continually improve until you get there!

Of course, focusing on what you do best — your work — is the priority. But telling the story along the way may be a good way to engage potential/current customers.

This post was originally featured on Medium and was republished with permission from the author.