Branding during the great resignation – Part I: Expertise as an employee benefit

The scale and speed of brand management has changed.

In response, brands have grown their marketing investment by over 150% in 2021. Often overlooked while these investments are made is the role employees play in delivering a brand. Many simplify the brand engagement challenge by making the jobs to be done easier to accomplish. Others build relationships with employees that are filled with positive reinforcements. Some, even now, browbeat and bully employees into “productive states.” Employee engagement occurs when three conditions exist:

  • growth in expertise
  • decentralization of work
  • system of accountability

Happy people managing a brand

Growth in Expertise

Google ‘crazy employee benefits’ and you might find a list that includes these treasures:

    1. The best homemade guacamole served in Culver City
    2. A personal assistant for every employee
    3. Celebrity clad trips to the Hamptons in the summertime
    4. Free mechanical bull rides at the bar across the street
    5. RV rental discounts

The breadth and depth to which companies will go to motivate employees seems limitless. However, the package of benefits that supposedly drives satisfaction has been proven to, at best, remove dissatisfaction.

In one of the most reprinted Harvard Business Review articles, Fredrick Herzberg identified the difference between those things that create satisfaction and motivation and those that do not. His theory, first documented in 1987, demonstrates that achievement through enriched expertise delivers satisfaction. It’s not what managers give that creates engagement. Rather it’s what management allows that builds engagement. What we must allow is a growth in expertise that employees feel.

Decentralization of Work

Herzberg goes on to set up conditions where expertise grows.

In short, it is the decentralization of work that wins. The requirements for engagement seem contradictory to what makes a good brand. A brand needs governance, guidelines, and good judgement. Many brand managers are caught between the scaling needs of the business, the employee need for achievement, and the control required to ensure brand consistency. Our point of view is that all brands need to move toward a Digital Asset Management system (DAM). A DAM informed by brand expertise creates a Brand Center where the rules and control are defined. The Brand Center feeds assets and ideas to the employees who have jobs to be done.

Brand center hub and spoke model

A brand center allows expertise to grow while establishing the controls needed for executional consistency.

If you’re curious to learn more about branding during the great resignation, reach out to us and stay tuned for Part II in this series: A System of Accountability in Brand Management.