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.