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Brand Engagement (International Political Economy Series) Hardcover – 27 Nov 2007
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'Brands need to be backed by accountable reachable people inside businesses (not websites, and interminable electronic answering systems). The way to customer loyalty is not necessarily the brand, but the business behind the brand. How that business acts and reacts, how it deals with relationships, how it deals with complaints and problems, and above all how it interfaces with customers and consumers are the essence of marketing. The worry is, many businesses seem to adopt a different negative strategy. In this sense, political marketing can be the ultimate example of short term hype and glossy promises, exchanged for votes; and then - post-election - consumers (nee voters) are forgotten.... until the next time! And in 2008, there are many examples of poor, inappropriate, and even Machiavellian marketing then ever before. When this is coupled with declining levels of customer satisfaction, and all the evidence pointing to a downward trend, customers and their needs need to be elevated to centre stage if we're ever to stop and reverse the slide. In this challenging and engaging new book, Ian Buckingham puts these factors in stark relief which demands the attention of senior executives, line managers, consumers and employees alike.' - Philip J. Kitchen, Ph.D., Professor of Strategic Marketing, Director, Research Centre for Marketing, Communications, and International Strategy, University of Hull
'Unlike most management texts Ian's book is not just a nagging reminder of the importance of employee engagement but it gives valuable insights into how to develop effective relationships within organizations in the best interest of customer service and ultimately the brand. It does so in a very inspiring but accessible and approachable way.' - Richard Skelley, Head of Professional Services RBS
'Ian Buckingham's thought provoking Brand Engagement challenges many well-trodden ways of engaging employees. It's as much a call to action as a commentary, drawing upon his substantial experience, insights into a range of organisational settings and love of the arts. As he advocates, Ian brings himself to this compelling work.' - Jane Cathrall, Head of HR& Resourcing, The Financial Services Authority
'This book is fascinating. Ian Buckingham cuts through the nonsense with the common-sense message that authentic, holistic relationships between people are at the heart of successful brands. I am ready to join the brand revolution!' - Rowan Hoban, Founder of Barefoot Business, www.barefootbusiness.com
'I have just read your book and it is excellent...I am about to read it again. I think we have ordered about 10 so far.' - Bill Parsons, Organisation Development Director
'I'd recommend this as an informative and enjoyable read about the "cultural and behavioral dimensions" of brands. It covers the sort of information communicators should understand if we're to do our jobs well.' - Rodney Gray, Employee Communication and Surveys
'Tells four well-detailed case histories that illustrate well how employee branding can be set in motion, developed and managed, and the assiduous reader will be left in little doubt how to set about the task.' - Roderick White, Admap
'I have just finished your book and thought it was excellent and very thought provoking. I have been able to apply it in my role as Resourcing and Employer Branding Manager at Bhs and intend to use it in the new role as Head of Retail Resourcing and Employer Brand at 3mobile.' - Paul Gibbins, Bhs
About the Author
Ian P. Buckingham is a leading author in the fields of Employee Engagement and Brand Development. After a formative start to his career on the customer service front line, he has subsequently held a range of senior consultancy positions within the world's largest Marcomms business – Omnicom and beyond. He develops and delivers Organization Development and Change Strategies as well as Brand Development and Executive Development programs for a wide range of clients across sectors. Buckingham has a reputation as a forthright, iconoclastic critic of some of the more draconian and spin-oriented practices of the agency and corporate worlds. He is widely and frequently quoted in a range of HR and Marketing publications. He blogs for People Management magazine and is a member of the CIPR advisory board. Ian Buckingham is the founder of Bring Yourself 2 Work a consultancy of engagement specialists. He is a champion of the need for authenticity in communication and behavior between business owners, employees, colleagues and their customers, calling for greater coordination between the HR and Marketing functions for more effective brand management.
Top customer reviews
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Right on the money as is the sequel Brand Champions: How Superheroes bring Brands to Life
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There is a lot to like about this philosophical brain-dump of everything the expert author knows ("thoughts", "reflections", "inspiration") about brand and internal communication. There are many tips as to what we should be doing (avoiding "brand creep", concentrating on culture, storytelling, leading with authenticity, involving employees, and so on).
It is not the clear road map promised, but the content is fine. I particularly liked the author's use of the term "culture" rather than the stupid term "internal brand". And I loved "When direct mail only achieves an estimated 2 percent success rate in the external market, what exactly is the point of this type of push communication in the internal market...?"
The excellent assertion that the concept of internal brand alignment is "the anathema of employee engagement" is powerful, but is not adequately explained even though the book starts and ends with this. There is an accurate definition of brand ("a range of perceptions in the mind of the consumer"). But curiously there is no definition of engagement.
Also, the critical importance of process excellence is downplayed (e.g. "...brand management is predominantly a behavioral challenge rather than a process, design and project management technique, culture and brand are inextricably linked"). Was it guru Philip Crosby who said (correctly) "quality is 80% process"? It's not enough having committed employees if the processes don't allow them to deliver the brand promise.
Engagement is shown as being in the middle of "the engagement staircase" between compliance and awareness on one hand, and commitment and empowerment on the other. "Engagement/involvement" involves "bringing the brand to life, role modelling the brand values, coaching ambassadors". While "commitment implies emotional connection and emotional connection is largely driven by a meeting of values, experiences, and reinforced behaviors".
This is a book of 221 pages with five big chapters ("acts"), 30 mostly excellent diagrams, plenty of lists, a good bibliography and sound index. There are a number of digressions from brand engagement to internal communication more generally (e.g. where the communication function sits, budgets, recruitment, and the relationship to HR).
I would recommend this book as an informative and enjoyable read about the "cultural and behavioral dimensions" of brands. It covers the sort of information communicators should understand if we are to do our jobs well.