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CMO Council Studies Embracing Social Media Strategies To Build Brands, Retain Workers

A study from the Chief Marketing Officer Council and Executive Networks Inc. looks at the value of socially engaging employees and partners in shaping corporate culture and brand personality.

The report, “Making the Workplace a Brand-Defining Space,” explores the new ways that marketing and HR leaders can engage employees socially to better radiate and reinforce a company’s brand values, ethics, commitments and qualities.

Qualitative input for the report was drawn from senior executives at Comcast, Deloitte, Whole Foods Market, British American Tobacco, Mitel, CA Technologies, Opus Bank, Intermountain Healthcare, WageWorks and The Walt Disney Company. The research, which was underwritten by CultureSphere, was based on an online survey of more than 230 senior marketing and HR leaders across North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

Brand promises are a dime a dozen and few companies have mastered the ability to engage their entire organization to deliver a truly unified, authentic and consistent customer experience that underscores the brand claim, according to the report.

That’s not to say it isn’t possible. Standout slogans where companies have measured up include the classic Avis “We Try Harder” campaign and “You’re in Good Hands with Allstate,” which required total employee and partner buy-in and support.

Brand persona is seen by almost 90% of the marketing and HR leaders surveyed as essential, very important or moderately valuable to attracting new hires and building a lasting relationship with customers. However, only 62% of respondents report having a formal brand platform that defines shared values, ethics and collective buy-in to a singular value proposition.

While only 37% of survey participants say they have a well-defined corporate culture that is universally embraced by the organization, more than half of respondents consider their brand personality to be fully embodied or very well reflected in their people and workplace.

The study found that most enterprises are lagging in the adoption and use of digital channels for real-time engagement with employees and partners. Furthermore, most are not taking full advantage of social media platforms, mobile devices and instant messaging technologies to crowdsource and share employee-inspired content.  

“Organizations have long struggled to instill shared values, behaviors and ethics that embody and validate brand platforms, personalities and promises,” says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, in a release. “A tighter linkage between the CMO and the [chief human resources officer] should be strongly centered on organizational branding and creating cultures that radiate and reinforce core brand attributes and aspirations.”

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