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Culture Pay-off

Today we came across two articles that both speak to the power of internal branding. One, in the Wall Street Journal speaks to the value of Walmart's house band and the collective passion of its 4000 store managers. In short, Wallmart may be one of the most cost conscious companies in the world (ex. managers share hotel rooms) but when it comes to its customer-focused culture, it has realized that there is no better investement opportunity.
Additionally, an article in Advertising Age asks, "Are McDonald's Employees Really 'Lovin It'?". This brief article provdes great insight into the value of "internal branding". We believe it. Great companies are built form the inside out, not the outside in. And although the process isn't flashy, the likes of Fed Ex and UPS have proven that employees that "live the brand" are an invaluable source of sustainable competitive advantage.

Highlight: Share performance of companies with high employee trust levels outperformed companies with low trust levels by 186%.
The three key to success is (1.) determining a compelling focus for the company that MEANS something to both internal and external stakeholders (2.) aligning the employees attitudes and beliefs with this new focus first..and then manifesting this focus via external means (marketing, advertising, product development, services, policies) and (3.) MEASUREMENT putting internal and external measures in place that enable the leaders of a company to gauge whether or not they are "moving the needle". After all, nothing measured...nothing gained:
Highlight: Corporations on Fortune's Most Admired Companies list increased stock appreciation 50% over their peers after instituting employee measures.

Business leaders have to not only ask themselves if they understand where their external customers are "coming from" but they also must create a culture similarly values what their internal customers are "all about". And of course, these business leaders and their companies have to have the prescience to MEASURE their success via stakeholder-centric measures, rather than simple sales measures and employee retention rates.

Posted by Bradley Peacock | Permalink

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