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Why brand experience depends on organizational alignment


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Experience brands understand that a customer’s or prospect’s path to the brand passes directly through their own people. And if those people aren’t aligned to the organization’s purpose and brand and business ambitions, there’s little chance of delivering the kind of positive experience clients will want to repeat and share.

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Why brand experience depends on organizational alignment

  1. 1. Your People, Your Brand:Creating an experience brand means looking at brand experiences from the inside out
  3. 3. INTRODUCTIONYour brand is what it does.No one knows this more than employees and partners The downside: bad service is the main reasonwho not only deliver brand experiences to customers and people give for having a bad experience, oneprospects but also experience it themselves – that’s still very much worth sharing, but not infrom the inside out. the way you’d like.As a result, successful experience brands don’tjust focus on the customer experience, they take a“Brand2Everyone” approach that delivers consistent,compelling experiences for every stakeholder, across Partnersevery channel and touchpoint – including employees and Employees Channelspartners (see figure 1.).Experience brands understand that a customer’s orprospect’s path to the brand passes directly throughtheir own people. And if those people aren’t alignedto the organization’s purpose and brand and business Brand2 Government Consumersambitions, there’s little chance of delivering the kind of Everyonepositive experience clients will want to repeat and share.Forthcoming research* will show the overwhelmingimpact of a brand’s people on their customers: 4,000people in four key markets (US, UK, China andAustralia) identified service and the people behind it as Investors Mediatop influences on how they rate brands before, duringand after the sale – impacting intent to purchase, loyalty Prospectsand what they’re willing to pay. Figure 1. 3/ Introduction - Your brand is what it does. 3/
  4. 4. “The central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, orWhy align? systems. The core of the matterSo, while the rest of the world looksat brands as nouns, we look at them is always about changing theas verbs. Brands are experiences– and those experiences start with behavior of people.”employees and culture. What mattersis how employees behave on behalf John P. Kotter, Harvard Business Schoolof the brand. As John Kotter has said,“The central issue is never strategy,structure, culture, or systems. The coreof the matter is always about changingthe behavior of people.” Externally, an aligned workforce drives reward and recognize. A culture is simply more revenue and customer loyalty by the sum total and reflection of our sharedYet foundational research by Jefferey delivering consistent brand experiences, experience – an organization’sPfeffer of Stanford Business School improving time-to-market, and personalizing institutional memory.estimates that only 12% of companies the experience to meet customers’ needs.have a sufficiently motivating culture to They know what, when and how to engage Aligned workers are the sign of a stronggive them a competitive advantage. clients and partners successfully on behalf of corporate culture that adds value through the brand – not because of a thick manual greater employee engagement, effort,What the 12% know is that there is they were handed during orientation, but innovation and retention.real value available to brands that because of the shared knowledge they havefocus on people-centered practices that comes from the organization’s culture. In addition to our own research, there is aand positive brand experiences Corporate cultures are really just a set of growing mountain of data to support theinternally. When employee behaviors limits and pressures that guide the way fact that experience brands with highlyare aligned to brand and business people behave. There is no single process engaged employees do better—whetherambitions, the workforce is more that drives or defines culture. Rather, it they’re measured by strength of their culture,flexible, consistent and engaged, and is driven through many overlapping and the quality of the customer experiencesable to drive value in many coordinated processes around the things we they deliver, or quality of internaldifferent ways. say, the stories we tell, and the things we communication. For example, a five-year Introduction - Why align? 4/
  5. 5. study by Watermark Consulting showed “customer experience” That, in turn, means focusing on inspiration as much as instruction,leaders significantly outperforming other companies, achieving exploration and evaluation. Because, as Chip and Dan Heath have22.5% growth compared to the S&P, which shrank an average argued, changing behavior is both an emotional and a rational1.3% during the same period. process that requires campaigns that appeal to both**.But aligning employees to deliver powerful brand experiences is On the journey from “no” to “know, believe, behave”, employeehard work because it’s about changing behavior and directing the experiences are the central driver (see figure 2.).way people act in increasingly complex situations.It means delivering internal experiences that engage and entertain,even as they educate employees and partners on the way “we”treat our customers, prospects, partners and colleagues. On-Brand Behavior Live it Believe it Get it TimeFigure 2. Introduction - Why align? 5/
  6. 6. The 5 principles of internal alignmentRallying internal and partner teams to deliver great experiences these daysmeans creating experiences for them that follow five key guiding principles.Principle #1Purpose-led: anchored in the with real clients in real situations. The site thus serves tobusiness and brand’s purpose both recognize and reinforce on-brand behavior.and intent. Another great example of a purpose-led alignment experience is a recent campaign we developed thatSimon Sinek makes a simple but powerful point in his famed was designed to engage and unite thousands of hospitalTED talk: When you want to lead people, you need to provide employees, ranging from janitors and volunteers toa purpose first. Start with why – and appeal to the emotional surgeons and senior administrators, spread across moreside of behavior change. Only after you’ve done that can you than 20 campuses. Hospital and health insurance systemmove on to “the way we do things” (How) and “the things we Scott & White Healthcare sought to align employeesdo” (What). Taken together, why, how and what is a useful around a shared sense of the importance of each offramework for understanding organizational culture and how their roles in the lives of the patients and families theypeople learn the way things are done. serve. “It Matters” – a two-year internal campaign that won PR Week’s Employee Communications CampaignWalmart International is putting this framework in action with of the Year in 2011 – featured photos and stories“The Walmart Way of Working”, a microsite and mobile of employees at all levels of the organization thatapp for managers around the world. The internal microsite is demonstrated how what they do matters in the chain oforganized around a simple diagram that places the company’s patient care, serving people when they are at theirpurpose at the center (to save people money so they can live most vulnerable.better), then progresses through the culture and behaviors(how), and common operating principles (what). The siteprovides managers access to videos of associates from aroundthe world demonstrating the why, how and what of the culture The 5 principles of internal alignment - Purpose-led 6/
  7. 7. The 5 principles of internal alignmentPrinciple #2Creative and cut-through: “Put as muchtelling, enabling and buildingstories that cut through the clutter. creativity into yourTo engage employees, you need to be creatively internal campaignsengaging. Employees don’t define themselves differently as you do your external ones.”just because they’re at work – they’re media consumersfirst. They expect clarity and great design in internal brandinformation, training and tools, just as they do with otherbrands in their lives as consumers. The amount of creativeeffort you put into internal alignment campaigns is directlytied to the resulting output of employeesand partners.Creative internal campaigns stretch the brand in new ways.KPMG recently deployed an internal program every bit ashard-hitting and strategic as you’d expect, but leveraginga photographic style so fresh and dynamic it looks morelike a consumer campaign. Great visuals are often thedifference between getting employees and partners toengage with your messages instead of merely enduringthem. Put as much creativity into your internal campaignsas you do your external ones. The 5 principles of internal alignment - Creative and cut-through 7/
  8. 8. The 5 principles of internal alignmentPrinciple #3Useful: helpful, generous,turning people into willing usersand participants. So you can look at it as a dose of medicine employees need to hold their noses and take simply becauseWe all know the drill. You’re barely keeping up with your “the boss said.” Or you can seize the opportunityinbox, when, at the precise moment you think you can’t to demonstrate to employees and partners that yousqueeze in another task, an email arrives from the CEO understand their everyday experience and value theabout a mandatory elearning module you need to take. brand enough to care about the kind of impression itNow imagine another scenario, in which the CEO sends makes on them, even if they’ve been with theyou a special invitation to get information that will make company for more successful in your job. The request recognizeshow busy you are and offers you something truly useful – Johnson & Johnson’s Global Marketing Group (GMG)new knowledge, process, or skills – in exchange for wanted to re-energize and re-energe thousands ofyour time. marketing staff and partners around the globe with cutting-edge ideas and new ways to collaborate. TheWe know which scenario will yield fewer groans – and challenge – marketing to marketers – drew heavilybetter results. The more you offer something of value, on audience analysis and insights, and ultimately ledthe more impact your experience will have on your to the rollout of internal website InsightsOut. Beyondstaff. The quality of any training and how it’s packaged the standard case studies and newsletters, InsightsOutare important; they’ll indicate to every employee in the included interviews, webinars and a behind-the-scenescompany (and every partner asked to take the course as video series with innovative marketing leaders at outsidewell), just how much (or how little) executive leadership companies like Google.values their time. The 5 principles of internal alignment - Useful 8/
  9. 9. The 5 principles of internal alignmentPrinciple #4Intuitively designed: Digital sales tools help the SmartCloud brand teams at IBM enable sales people to talk clearly, crisply and withanticipating how users will want authority about the advantages of choosing IBM. Most are focused on helping sales teams identify client needs, andto interact. align them to IBM’s broad portfolio of products and services.People today expect things to work. No manuals. Noextended training time. Just an intuitive interface that they“get” right away, with a clear set of benefits for engaging.We’re often tapped by clients to develop sales enablementtools and training that help sales people understandproducts, learn new skills and engage with clients in themost brand-friendly ways. These tools need to be easy-to- “The tools need to beuse and immediately graspable, or they face a lonely lifeon the already-crowded shelf of unused (and unloved) easy to use....or theysales tools. face a lonely life onA recent Forrester Research report on sales enablementaccused most organizations of practicing “random acts of the already crowdedsales support” where HR, product and portfolio managers,marketing, and sales all scramble to meet senior executive shelf of unused (anddemands for increased sales. In an environment like this,the only tools that get used are the ones that are intuitive unloved) sales tools”and can be put into action right away, with little in the wayof explanation or training. The 5 principles of internal alignment - Intuitively designed 9/
  10. 10. The 5 principles of internal alignmentPrinciple #5 If the experience makes a difference, then we should be able to see results somewhere along the line – whether it’s apparent in immediately measurable objectives like increasedExpertly delivered: purchase intent, advocacy, consideration or purchase, or longer-term advantages we have to work a bit to identify,brought to life creatively, effectively such as increased employee engagement (meaning effort, which means productivity), or retention (see figure 3.). Justand impactfully. like creative effort, your effort to manage return on your investment should be as rigorous for internal campaigns as forAny brand experience is only as good as the quality of its delivery those intended for the consumer marketplace.– and that’s true of internal brand experiences as well. As a brandexperience agency, our skillset encompasses making and doingas well as imagining and ideating. Sometimes our maker culture Figure focused on high-touch single engagements for extremely high-level partner audiences, like the C-level events we produce for IBM;sometimes we’re deploying lower-touch engagements across multiple IMPACT ACROSS INDUSTRIESdelivery points – like the face-to-face sales training experiences we Our experience with brands across sectors demonstratesexecuted for the Samsung Galaxy S, touching thousands of retail sales that aligning employees and partners drives real valuereps spread out in markets around the country. across industries:Whatever the scenario, we know that a creative campaign that is A global consumer electronics client achieved +18%poorly executed is simply a bad experience. Neither we nor our sales in retail locations where we aligned retail staff on product benefits.clients get credit for simply trying. Results are what matters. A QSR leader typically sees 4% sales lift for franchisesAnd while we’re on the topic of results: what gets measured gets where employees are aligned on running promotionaldone. So it’s fair to ask the question: If a brand experience happens and upsell customer experience programs.and there’s no one there to measure it, does it make a difference? A telecomm client saw improvements at call centers including -23% call escalations, +15% service package(It may – but we’ll never know.) up-sells, +14% customer satisfaction. The 5 principles of internal alignment - Expertly delivered 10/
  11. 11. Align by designLike external brand experiences, your employees’ andpartners’ brand experiences don’t just happen. They’reentirely under your control – and they can always bebetter. Whether start-up or category leader, you canensure that your people are primed to support yourbrand and business ambition by paying attention totheir experiences first.Because, as we say:your brand is whatyour brand does.Joe Panepinto, Phd is Vice President, Senior Strategist atJack Morton. You can reach him 9/ Align by design 11/
  12. 12. TALK TO JACK ABOUT JACK MORTON Jack Morton Worldwide is a global brand experience agencyFor information about Jack Morton, contact with offices on five continents. Our agency culture breakthrough ideas about how experiences connect brandsFollow us on twitter @jackmorton and people – in person, online, at retail and through theVisit us online at power of digital and word of mouth influence. We work withRead our blog at both BtoC and BtoB clients to create powerful and effective experiences that engage customers and consumers, launch products, align employees and build strong experience*LEARN MORE brands. Ranked at the top of our field, we earned over 50 awards for creativity, execution and effectiveness last year.Look for Jack Morton’s forthcoming research on Jack Morton is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc.experience brands in March 2013. Additional (NYSE: IPG).research and white papers can be found onJack Morton’s Slideshare channel. © Jack Morton Worldwide 2013**FURTHER READINGPower: Why Some People Have it and OthersDon’t, Jefferey Pfeffer (2010)Forrester Research, Sales Enablement Defined,Scott Santucci (2010)Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard,Chip and Dan Heath (2011) Talk to Jack. Learn More. Further reading. About Jack Morton. 12/