According to a blurb published in the Wall Street Journal, consumers have less go-to brands today than they did before the great economic meltdown.
What is a “go-to brand” exactly? It’s a product or service that buyers must have; one they won’t substitute for and are willing to pay a premium for because they believe in its quality and value.
Go-to brands are big money makers for the companies that possess them. Satisfied customers spend more over their lifetimes; they recommend those services or products to others and they continue to remain loyal even in the face of modest cost increases or the occasional service miscue.
And while tougher economic times may have shortened the elasticity between price and blind loyalty, no marketer would argue that a brand’s reputation is not the biggest competitive advantage a company can have. And in that calculation employee actions and attitudes are paramount.
The authenticity of any brand—its perception of being genuine, legitimate and trustworthy—is directly dependent on the willingness of the company’s employees to act and deliver in a manner that is consistent with customer expectations . Here a solid recognition program can help you communicate what it is that your customers except and what role the employees play in satisfying them. Here HR (and marketing) can work together to communicate goals to employees, measure the results, and reward the desired outcomes.
So much is riding on the brand and in today’s economy its reputation can be the difference corporate growth and stagnation. As you think about ways to make your brand a “go-to” choice for your targeted customers, think about the role your recognition program can play in making that happened.
Presented by: Mike Ryan, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Strategy
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
9:00-10:00 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
3:45 – 4:45 PM EDT
Omni-channel marketing is a proven strategy flourishing across commerce models of all categories. It calls for the optimization of all available message-distribution channels and is built around the philosophy that you should reach out and connect with customers in whatever manner reflects their lifestyle and information preferences.
For HR executives looking to structure better recognition strategies there is a lot to garner from omni-channel thinking. Simply substitute the words “employee” with “customer” and “workstyle” with “lifestyle” and you have the makings of a smart and cost-effective communications plan—one that leverages all available communication outlets and does so in a manner designed to resonate better with each employee segment.
Unlike their marketing cohorts (who have to make educated guesses on prospect profiles), HR has a deep data sets on employee demographics and they should put each to use. While the more traditional means of communication elevate levels of awareness, they are not able to build an emotional and highly personalized relationship with each recipient. Messages that leverage different content structures—along with the channel delivery options that people use in their work lives every day—are more likely to be heard and resonate with the recipient.
Madison is a recognized leader in communications planning. We see the value in utilizing all forms of communications; from posters to tent cards to digitally-delivered texts and emails that can be personalized, distributed and tracked through our recognition platforms. Companies that aspire to build an omni-channel communications platform would be wise to start with the foundation that a web-based recognition portal offers.
Opt-in marketing. Marketers have long recognized the “give-and-take” nature of digital communications and the power it has to build enduring relationships.
How does it work? It’s simple really: The consumer signals that they are interested in (and open to) information covering a particular subject, product or service. So when asked to do so, content providers respond with messages that are more meaningful and streamlined for the recipient.
Opt-in marketing is based on a simple philosophy: Information in exchange for more information. Share your preferences and let that data guide future conversations and offers. It’s one more way to make the internet work for you.
Where am I going with this? Readers of this blog know that I have long contended that if HR is going to be successful in creating meaningful relationships with employees — akin to those that marketing builds with customers — it would be wise to adopt some of their methods. Opt-in recognition can be one example.
Using the technology provided by Madison, employees can let managers know their recognition preferences: Do they like being applauded in public or do they prefer a more private acknowledgment? Is there a particular set of behaviors they would like to focus on improving? If so, how can the manager work best with them to help them get better? And finally what are the types of award items have caught their eye? Items that inspire can be used in communications that stress the “what’s in it for me” part of any motivational message. They can remind the employee how close they are getting to earning what they really want.
Opt-in marketing has redefined the way consumers participate with product and service providers. Shouldn’t it also be part of the recognition dynamic on some level?
Microtargeting. It’s more than a buzzword. It a proven method that direct marketing professionals use to frame conversation within clusters of potential customers.
Marketers use this technique to enhance the impact of their efforts. They lower the net cost of each message (since it’s delivered with more precision) and increase the return on the effort (since it has more impact when it’s received).
Madison has been helping businesses microtarget their messages for years. Except we don’t do it on the consumer side, we do it with employees.
I have always believed that planners of employee recognition programs should think and act like their marketing counterparts; that they should take a direct marketing approach to crafting and delivering program announcements and offerings.
Employee audiences within individual business units and geographic locations have varying growth opportunities, market forces and other competitive threats to deal with. They need motivational messages and objectives tailored to the realities of what they do and where they do it. Layer on the individual variables within any work group (like age related attitudes and various degrees of past success) and you see how even an initially customized message requires additional nuance to ring true and pique the interest of “the segment within the segment”.
That’s where a recognition portal (or more specifically the data-driven rules engine within) comes into play. Using these tools, recognition planners can dispense messages electronically increasing “relevant touches” while easing administration. What’s more, communications can be sequenced to other workflow systems so messages can be generated when key milestones are achieved.
Microtargeting. It’s an effective approach for employees too – once you have the right system in place.