Branding: Brand experience

Companies strategize at the highest levels – push the marketing and communication teams to craft customer messages, invest in expensive marketing campaigns – yet employees are often the last to truly understand their company’s brand.
Companies are learning that their brand stands or falls on the internal relationship with its employees as much as their external promises to customers.

Still, many organizations fail at enfranchising their employees in their branding. They are so externally focused on the customer, and the shareholders, that they are pursued above all others, excluding the actual messenger of the brand – the employee!

Not long ago, I was at a sales training for the sales force of Coca-Cola Romania. The company just introduced two new products to the market and they organized this conference to familiarize the sales people with the new drinks. Around 900 hundred people were present, the company brought Ilie Nastase and Nadia Comaneci to deliver these motivational speeches, a well-known TV star was the host to the entire evening. They introduced the new drinks, the communication campaign; competitions among different teams were held ad-hoc. The audience was hyped-up.

My role there was to hand out these promotional objects as gifts from the company for its employees. The plan was to give a mob style hat to the guys and a feathers scarf to the girls. That was the plan. Unfortunately, when the show was over, the crowd just erupted from the venue and literally grabbed in total disorder the gifts from the boxes. It was like a herd of wild beasts running amok! In 15 minutes the place looked vandalized and we were incredulously asking each other if those were people from Coca-Cola?!

There and then I promised myself that I will never drink again anything made by Coca-Cola. I still keep my promise.

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