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Validating marketing research

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I was very fortunate to learn about its “Happy Connecting” brand positioning and some of its fine brand-oriented employee communication practices. It is the reason we come to work each day, and it is at the heart of everything we do.”To make employees resonate with the brand proposition, Sprint has embarked on every effort to drive employee engagement and build a brand-oriented culture within the corporation (in accordance with what literature and empirical findings suggest! Sprint well recognizes the importance of engaging and motivating employees with its “clear, actionable communications” that support the accomplishment of its brand objectives: 1. Key determinants of internal brand management success: An exploratory empirical analysis. Leaders at all levels play a pivotal role: Fostering dialogues and providing easy-to-use resources that contribute to employees’ positive brand experiences. Employees across all hierarchical and functional levels serve as brand ambassadors: Promoting their brand citizenship behavior—advocating for Sprint in product/service and all the other work scenarios. Training and education is the key: Coaching employees to creatively solve problems and effectively implement organizational policies that foster innovation and boost customer responsiveness. Internalize the spirit of “Happy Connecting” within Sprint’s digital workplace: Driving user experience improvements in various communication channels—intranet, mobile, video, and social. Define polices and develop measurement metrics for all branding-oriented employee communications tactics. Construct an integrated (rather than segmented or scattered) and consistent brand through the collective effort of the management team, corporate communications, human resources, and marketing. Formal rewards systems (e.g., commissions and bonuses) are established to motivate employees and help them achieve corporate branding goals. Awards and recognitions are necessary as well (e.g., development of performance indicators; when an individual or team makes improvements, their photo and a note about their project are posted on a movable bulletin board, intranet, or social media websites).

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Prior empirical research has yielded findings to answer this question. Henkel, S., Tomczak, T., Heitmann, M., & Herrmann, A. Managing brand consistent employee behaviour: Relevance and managerial control of behavioural branding. To create and maintain brand ownership internally, here are some important steps for organizations to follow (see Papasolomou & Vrontis, 2006): 1. Training and development programs enable an organization to meet its business objectives including but not limited to brand knowledge retention and employees’ attitudinal and behavioral changes. Designing an effective programming to achieve internal brand learning and management objectives. Quality standards: Meeting customers’ expectations. Establishing a brand proposition that incites employees to pull up the emotional side of a brand and provide high-quality products and services to customers. Overcoming any internal barriers that employee branding may encounter (lack of empowering leadership, lack of supportive resources, lack of clear and easy-to-follow guidelines, the friction among HR, Corporate Communications, and Marketing, among others). Measuring delivery against the proposition (use of quantitative and qualitative research methods to assess employees’ understanding, perception, implementation, and feedback as related to a brand proposition). Continual improvement and expansion of branding efforts across all organizational levels (internal brand management is always on-going and involves employees across all hierarchical and functional levels within an organization). Providing employees with high quality internal services, for example, HR, IT, and finance. Breeding confidence, brand mindedness, and customer orientation via intensive learning and development programs (e.g., workshops, manuals, video materials, etc.). Encouraging employees to appreciate each other and treat each other professionally (e.g., delivering on promises & meeting deadlines). Providing employees with “voice” (e.g., recording of employees talking about themselves and their brand stories and broadcasting them via interpersonal communication, back-office marketing, road shows, internal TV programs, other staff functions, and social media). Training and education: Shaping employee behaviors. How can employees be motived to go over and beyond their prescribed roles in corporate branding, through their performance on the job, personal advocacy of products and services off the job, or both? In employee branding, management’s leadership styles really matter. 266-267), central to successful internal brand management are several pivotal constituents of its procedures: (1) employees’ brand commitment, (2) brand citizenship behavior, and (3) brand strength. Supervisors who align employees’ individual values with organizational goals to accomplish mutually beneficial outcomes can elicit from their subordinates both helpful (1) role modeling—leadership authentically “living” the brand values themselves, (2) articulating an inspiring brand vision and inducing passion in the corporate brand, (3) empowering an internal brand community and encouraging employee feedback on brand ramifications for different jobs, and (4) coaching employees to grow into their roles as brand ambassadors (Burmann et al., 2009; Devasagayam et al., 2010; Henkel et al., 2007; King & Grace, 2010; Morhart et al., 2009; Papasolomou & Vrontis, 2006; Sirianni et al., 2013; Wentzel, 2009). Brand commitment refers to the extent to which employees feel psychologically attached to a brand (e.g., brand affinity, lack of substitutability, and trust) and are thus willing to devote efforts towards the accomplishment of the brand’s goals.

Specifically, it denotes employees’ willingness to adjust their behaviors in accordance with the brand’s identity and image (i.e., obedience), the extent to which employees identify themselves as part of the brand community, internally and externally (i.e., identification), and finally, the degree to which employees internalize the brand values into their actions (i.e., internalization). Building corporate branding through internal marketing: The case of the UK retail bank industry.

Customer-contact personnel’s actions (i.e., their on- and off-site contribution to an organization’s customer-focused brand positioning) can translate brand vision into brand reality through playing the role of “brand ambassadors,” “brand maniacs,” “brand champions,” and “brand evangelists” (Morhart et al., 2009, p. Such branded encounters may not only lead to positive brand impressions but also enable customers to process brand information and understand a brand’s overall meaning properly.

Key to the success of the branding strategy is thus (i.e., a high level of congruence between employees’ behavior and brand personality), apart from the wide use of marketing-driven, mass-targeted messages.

For instance, a survey of 269 frontline employees (Morhart et al., 2009) showed that participants were more likely to embrace an organization’s external brand positioning when leadership was transformational (e.g., role modeling, articulating an inspiring brand vision, empowering internal brand representatives, and coaching them) and when employees perceived a high level of autonomy, competence, and relatedness when performing their work roles as brand representatives. Building brand community membership within organizations: A viable internal branding alternative? Building and measuring employee-based brand equity. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 16, 310-320.

Similarly, drawing upon a survey of 167 senior managers and several top management focus groups, Henkel et al. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 19, 210-217.

Employees as brand representatives should uphold their professional relationships with a corporate brand. Available August 6, 2013, at southwest-airlines-“gets-it”-our- culture/ Wentzel, D. The effect of employee behavior on brand personality impressions and brand attitudes.