Transforming employees into brand advocates

Using employees to make your brand more customer centric emerged as a key theme in our Marketing Forum.  Cindy Commander, an analyst for Forrester's CMO Group, recently conducted some research in this area.  She Cindy noted that Bain found that 80% of companies believe that they're delivering a superior experiences to their customers, but only 8% of customers agree!  Employees are central to delivering a strong, consistent customer experience.  But only 26% of customer experience professionals think that employees share a vision of the customer.  So, there's a huge incentive to bringing employees into the brand.

CMOs Forrester spoke with saw improved customer service and more personalized customer experiences from engaging employees in the brand.  The benefits to the organization? Better retention and satisfaction of employees, greater word of mouth marketing, greater brand differentiation, and improved profitability.  Cindy mentioned some of the best ways to execute: conduct initial assessment of employees to gauge their understanding of the brand; partner with HR; communicate frequently:  educate employees about the brand; empower employees by providing tools they can access; recognize employees when they engage with the brand.  Her model for creating brand advocates among employees boils down to Share, Involve, Personalize, Enable, Reinforce. She cautioned that the process of changing the culture is time-consuming, company-wide, and dynamic.

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re: Transforming employees into brand advocates

Hi Julie,I hope you don't mind that I quoted you and your colleague's 80%-8% ratio in my MediaPost weekly op-ed: http://blogs.mediapost.com/spin/?p=1018I wish I could've been at your Marketing conference in Miami. It sounded interesting and I've enjoyed your posts on it! (Although I don't like the term "customer centricity, because it's a redundant word paring meant to represent what marketing should be in the first place.)Cheers,Max KalehoffVP-MarketingNielsen BuzzMetrics

re: Transforming employees into brand advocates

Hi Max,Glad you're making use of the data. If you're interested in more, you should contact Cindy directly (I couldn't stay for her entire presentation because I had to catch a flight, which ended up being delayed).As for the term "customer centricity," Sylvia Reynolds of Wells Fargo had some interesting stuff to say. For example, "No customer has ever asked us to be more centric."Best,Julie

re: Transforming employees into brand advocates

FYI - After I wrote this post, I received a note from Cindy Commander:"Quick note though – the data that you referred to (80% of companies, 8% of customers) is actually not Forrester data but data that we used from a Bain study. (It is noted in the presentation source but I missed explicitly saying that in my talking points). I just want to make sure that we are clear to give credit to the source rather than making it look like I did the research." I (Julie) was sitting too far away from her slides to see.The exact source is:James Allen, Frederick Reichheld, Barney Hamilton, and Rob Markey. “Closing the delivery gap”. Bain & Company. 2005.