Even though a company’s brand doesn’t appear as a line item on the balance sheet, it is arguably one of the most valuable assets that a business possesses. Although there are many ways to define a brand, one of the easiest—and probably most beneficial—is to think of your brand as your reputation in the marketplace. In other words, your brand is a series of stories, experiences, messages and deliberate touches that persuade a customer to choose to do business with your company over any other. With that definition in mind, the value of your brand is clear because it serves as the focal point of your entire business. If you have consistently provided value and people think highly of you, your brand can be leveraged and used to capture market share.
One of the best ways for a company to leverage the brand and boost profitability is to engage employees and to have them become informal “brand ambassadors.” In fact, a recent study by consulting firm Towers Watson suggests that highly engaged employees can almost triple bottom line profits (27.4%, on average) when compared to companies without engaged employees (9.9%, on average).
There are many different ways that a company can foster enhanced brand engagement. Email campaigns and newsletters are high on the list, along with branded company posters and slogans. Employee recognition and reward programs are also fairly popular employee engagement tools. Most companies find that one initiative alone is not sufficient, however. The most successful companies—with the most engaged employees—typically use a combination of several employee engagement tactics.
Today, 9 out of every 10 companies have some form of brand engagement program in place. If it sounds like companies are investing a lot of time and energy on building internal brand engagement, they are, and for good reasons. According to a recent Interbrand study, the average annual revenue growth rate for companies with highly engaged brands in 2012 was a healthy 18%. On the other hand, companies with disengaged employees during the same time period averaged an annual revenue decline of 6%.
Clearly, employee brand engagement is not simply a buzzword or marketing department hype. Fully engaged employees are essential to the success of any business, regardless of size or industry. Engaging employees to promote a brand is one of the most powerful tools available for capturing market share by building legions of loyal and excited fans.