How important is it to deliver a unified and authentic customer experience that reinforces a company’s brand promise? Very, but companies say they’re challenged getting the entire organization to buy in and truly embody the values behind their brand.

A new research report by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Executive Networks Inc., “Making the Workplace a Brand-Defining Space,” spoke to senior executives at major companies including Mitel and CA Technologies and explores ways marketing and HR leaders can get buy-in from employees to embody and a company’s brand values, ethics, commitments and qualities.

“Organizations have long struggled to instill shared values, behaviors and ethics that embody and validate brand platforms, personalities and promises,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, in a statement. “A tighter linkage between the CMO and the CHRO should be strongly centered on organizational branding and creating cultures that radiate and reinforce core brand attributes and aspirations.”

While 90 per cent of the marketing and HR leaders surveyed said brand persona is at least moderately valuable for attracting new employees and building a lasting relationship with customers, just 62 per cent said they currently have a formal brand platform that defines their shared values and ethics. Only 37 per cent said they have a well-defined corporate culture that the organization has embraced.

The study examined social media strategies companies can use to attract millennial employees, build customer-centric cultures, recognize employees and bring gamification techniques to the workplace. Half of the respondents were interested in piloting or learning more about a social platform for real-time, employee-inspired branding, citing benefits such as turning employees into active advocates and brand champions, reinforcing brand authenticity and corporate credibility and unifying, engaging and activating the organization.

Most businesses reported they’re lagging when it comes to embracing digital channels for real-time engagement with employees and partners, and aren’t taking full advantage of social media platforms, mobile devices and instant messaging technologies to share employee-inspired content.

“Big changes are underway in the make-up of the workforce and the requirements to satisfy younger, social media-minded and technically savvy workers,” said Mike Dulworth, president and CEO of Executive Networks Inc., in a statement. “Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are entering the workplace in record numbers. They are idealistic, diverse, digitally enabled, social and perhaps most importantly, ambitious.”

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