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How Leading Companies are Winning Through Meaningful Brand Strategies: The Employee’s Perspective

How Leading Companies are Winning Through Meaningful Brand Strategies: The Employee’s Perspective

According to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace study, “in 2010, 28% of American workers were engaged. 
By the end of 2012, as the U.S. inched toward a modest recovery, that number increased slightly to 30%, matching the 
all-time high since Gallup began tracking the employee engagement levels of the U.S. working population in 2000.” “These latest findings indicate that 70% of American workers are ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’ and are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive. Currently, 52% of workers are not engaged, and worse,...
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Your People Will Make Your Brand Meaningful (If They Believe in You)

Your People Will Make Your Brand Meaningful (If They Believe in You)

There are many “tangible” brand moments that are under direct control of a brand (the lobby people enter, the ad campaign they see, the packaging on the product they open, etc.). However, there are also many “intangible” moments that play an important part in defining the success of a brand. These are moments when people of the brand interact with other employees, customers, partners, suppliers, distributor, investors, community leaders, and so on. Behind every great brand there are great people talking with important people. When a brand seeks to move toward greater...
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Social Business Driven by Meaning

Social Business Driven by Meaning

Stowe Boyd is a researcher, speaker and writer working principally on social tools and their impact on media, business and society. Back in 2012 he told delegates at the Meaning 2012 Conference in the UK that we are entering the age of “Post-normal Business”. For Boyd, “Postnormal Business” results from a series of fundamental shifts for business: “’Leadership’ has changed when a decentralized group of people can take down a government. ‘The Value Chain’ has changed when the customer is no longer just the ‘buyer’ but also a...
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It’s Time to Re-Value the Value Proposition

It’s Time to Re-Value the Value Proposition

The creation of the value proposition has a long history. Businesses are absolute wizards at coming up with new products and services, figuring out how to make and distribute them, and backing them up with service. Ironically, they often are unable to craft a value proposition for their offering that couldn’t be easily used by their competitors. They write bog-standard, uninspiring, business-speak statements, filled with jargon that go in one ear and out the other of both employees, prospects and customers. As such, they end up saying nothing significant to the people vital to their...
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The Meaningful Workplace: It Takes New Ways of Thinking, and Behaving

The Meaningful Workplace: It Takes New Ways of Thinking, and Behaving

“How do you build an organization where people are willing to bring their gifts of initiative, creativity, and passion?” – Gary Hamel You can’t build a workplace that is meaningful to people using the old mentality and outdated tools that have rendered your current workspace meaning-neutral or, at worst, meaningless. To forge meaningful alliances with meaning-seeking employees requires new ways of thinking and acting. Familiar business constructs that have formed the foundation of employer/employee relations are being rethought and retooled to make business fit for the future. Ambition is...
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Meaningful Brand Strategies: The Consumers Perspective

Meaningful Brand Strategies: The Consumers Perspective

Consumers are expecting a lot from businesses, according to the 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study. Consider these findings relative to the role of a business’s social responsibility: “As global citizens become increasingly aware of businesses’ behaviors and CSR initiatives – in part because of social 
media, they are also becoming more astute about both corporate and consumer impacts. Around the world, the majority 
of consumers feel both individuals and corporations are having some degree of positive influence on social and environmental issues; however, just one-quarter feels...
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How Leading Companies are Winning Through Meaningful Brand Strategies: The Research Firm’s Perspective

How Leading Companies are Winning Through Meaningful Brand Strategies: The Research Firm’s Perspective

Millward Brown, is a market research firm with offices in 56 countries. Their Stengel Study of Business Growth reaches out to consumers and employees to assess the impact of businesses and brands. Here is a summary of their findings: “The Stengel Study of Business Growth ultimately identified 50 brands with extraordinary growth over the 2000s relative to their competition. These Top 50 brands across all categories have created more meaningful relationships with people. They have far outpaced their competition in brand value, and they have contributed to faster and greater business value...
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Every Brand Should Have A “Director Of Something Special”

Every Brand Should Have A “Director Of Something Special”

Random acts of kindness and generosity are a great way to acknowledge valuable customers and employees – and to create a meaningful buzz about your brand. Why not appoint someone in your company as the “Director of Something Special” and define their role as: “To create random moments of unexpected happiness for the staff and customers of our company”? Determine an appropriate budget, keeping in mind that the real value of the exercise will be in the gesture as much as the gift itself. Then let your “Director of Something Special” find people that deserve a special “thank you” from your...
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Change How You Think About Values At Your Company

Change How You Think About Values At Your Company

“Values can be defined as broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. As such, values reflect a person’s sense of right and wrong or what “ought” to be.” – Wikipedia Enterprises seek “appropriate” courses of action and outcomes, so they establish and communicate a set of corporate values. But, too many businesses find that employees aren’t sufficiently influenced by these values. In other words, they don’t fully embrace the ideals, they often act in “wrong” ways, and they don’t work together...
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What We’ve Always Yearned For; What We Especially Need Today

What We’ve Always Yearned For; What We Especially Need Today

Over the past few months I’ve been thinking about the question of nature vs nurture. What we’ve always yearned for The “nature” idea states that we humans think and behave in the same ways we have always done, since our hunter/gatherer days. It’s the notion that “nothing ever changes” when it comes to human behavior and that we are still driven by the same set of basic human needs. In today’s world the “nature” idea means that the internet, mobile technology, social media, etc. haven’t really lead to, or enabled, new human...
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Five Not-So-Obvious Ways External Experts Can Improve Your Sustainability Report

Five Not-So-Obvious Ways External Experts Can Improve Your Sustainability Report

Producing a Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR) is a big job that requires significant time and expertise. It’s easy to underestimate the full scope of resources that reporting requires. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of consultants and agencies available that can help handle many parts of the workload – from strategy, to writing, to data management, to graphic design, as well as agencies that can do it all. Typically, reporting teams only consider hiring a consultant or agency in order to fill obvious gaps in internal resources or expertise. But, hiring the right experts will also...
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Are The Inner Workings Of Your Business Stressing The Credibility Of Your Brand?

Are The Inner Workings Of Your Business Stressing The Credibility Of Your Brand?

I recently came across a Smithsonian blog post that decoded the spray-painted hieroglyphics we commonly see on our roads. The color coded system was developed after a tragedy occurred when construction workers accidentally cut through a petroleum pipe line in 1976. Each color corresponds to a different underground service. Below the surface of your brand, there’s a complex business at work. Much like the various services which we trod over every day without realizing, components of the business behind your brand are often little fiefdoms that may be working at cross-purposes when it comes to...
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Good Leadership Character Leads to Good Brand Strategy

Good Leadership Character Leads to Good Brand Strategy

An excellent post at IMD.org speaks to two attributes that the writers, Professors Stewart Black and Allen Morrison, believe are necessary for leaders of global organizations today: emotional connections and integrity. I think this advice is great for any business leader, not only those operating at the “global” level. Here’s the section on emotional connections that talks about being sincerely interested in others, genuinely listening to others, and understanding different viewpoints. Emotional connections Global leaders need to establish personal, empathetic relationships...
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If Your Employees Took A Vote, Would They Re-Elect Your CEO?

If Your Employees Took A Vote, Would They Re-Elect Your CEO?

I recently came across an article about a company so deep into democratic values that employees actually elect the CEO. The adoption of democratic principles in business is a growing phenomenon. But my question isn’t whether your business is run as a democracy. My question is, would you win re-election if it were? Have you earned the respect and admiration of your employees by not only what you say, but what you do? Have you provided them with a workplace that matters to them (and to the success of the enterprise)? Have you created a culture of respect, based on empathy, that makes people...
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“A Purpose Is A Direction That Reconciles Individual Ambitions And Collective Aspirations.” @gpetriglieri

“A Purpose Is A Direction That Reconciles Individual Ambitions And Collective Aspirations.” @gpetriglieri

So tweeted the amazingly insightful Gianpiero Petriglieri of INSEAD. Consider, therefore, how a well-crafted, emotionally meaningful purpose “hits two birds with one stone”. It takes into account what “I” want, need, aspire to – as a customer or employee. At the same time , it embraces the collective impact on “WE” – the company, the employees, the society, the planet. Properly implemented, such a purpose serves as a magnet for a brand. It achieves this status when management makes the purpose both personally relevant and emotionally important to all brand constituents. People see what they...
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