"Despite the existence of many books about branding, not to mention numerous firms that sell it, the disappointing reality is that branding initiatives often fail. According to a recent survey of 700 business professionals conducted by Tom Peters, more than 90% said they did not understand how to effectively represent their company's brand; 75% don't support their company's branding initiatives; and over 50% say they don't even know what a brand means....
"All of this points to an unexamined 'failure factor' in branding as it is practiced today. Although companies are well-aware of the need to project the right brand image, they have paid little or no attention to gaining employee commitment to the brand at all levels....
"The conventional view is that branding is about creating 'image,' changing 'perceptions,' driving 'marketing and sales.' The emerging, more people-centric view, is that branding is about creating loyalty, motivation, and even missionary zeal among customers and employees alike.
Now comes the cover story of Forbes, September 26, 2011, "Social Power and the Coming Corporate Revolution." It describes what has happened now that employees, in whom the power of brand is invested, have seized the reins away from their clueless bosses (sometimes "horrible bosses"). They are taking advantage of any and every technology at hand to connect in new ways. (The article's focus is on customers and employees alike, but for the purpose of this post the focus is only on employees.)
If you read the Forbes article carefully, you see that the changed economy, together with social media tools, have handed employees far more power than they ever had in the past - and how organizations disregard this power at their peril.
Here are some quotes from this excellent article, available online for free, which highlight the changes taking place right now:
1. "People are changing faster than companies...The elites--or managers in companies--no longer control the conversation."
2. "In this new world of business, companies and leaders will have to show authenticity, fairness, transparency and good faith. If they don't, customers and employees may come to distrust them, to potentially disastrous effect."