Proud to see that Simply Communicate’s Gloria Lombardi chose Brand Champions as one of their 15 internal communication must reads, alongside the likes of Seth Godin. An eclectic list appreciative of the reality that internal communication doesn’t sit alone in the corporate radio station but at its best is part of an integrated system including hr, brand, marketing, leadership and culture.
We encourage you to take a long look at the list on the site but here are the kind words she had for Ian’s second book:
Brand Champions. How Superheroes Bring Brands to Life, by Ian. P. Buckingham
If you were looking for a book describing the role of brand as a powerful and unifying route to sustainable employee engagement, you may want to read Brand Champions. How Superheroes Bring Brands to Life by Ian. P. Buckingham.
In his work, the author shows the link between employee and brand engagement, making a compelling case for branding as something that belongs to each employee of the organisation.
According to Buckingham, at it’s core, engagement is based on reciprocity and the exchange of things with others for mutual benefits. It implies a state where the company and its employees exist in a condition of mutual understanding.
In this context, the employer strives to create a work environment that is satisfying and rewarding for its employees, while stimulating their emotions and desire to address their higher-order needs. “The employer literally invites them to bring themselves to work and become similarly invested (engaged) in the long-term success of their organisation or brand.”
A point stressed by the author is that employees’ engagement with the brand is discretionary, which means it cannot be forced or faked. Engaged employees are usually self-electing rather than made that way by corporate programs. That is why two-way communication needs to be “expanded dramatically.”
This requires allowing employees the opportunity to explore assertions made about the brand for themselves and two-way channels to exchange feed-back. The more empowered and involved they feel, the more likely they are to generate on-brand and on-strategy initiatives through their own power and efforts.
The author writes about a joined-up approach to engagement which takes into consideration the outsider world, such as communities, customers and corporate partners. With the increasing use of digital communications and the power, reach, unpredictability and response time of social media, it’s no longer possible to control stakeholder perceptions with silos-specific communications. Boundaries are blurring. “It’s disingenuous, counterproductive and confusing to pretend that the brand the world outside engages with is or should be any different from the brand “presented” to employees.”
This requires trust and transparency inside the business. “Trust is fundamental to sustainable employee engagement and brands can’t be sustained without engaged employees. There is a lot of noise surrounding the Edelman Trust Barometer for a reason.”