Editor - David Taylor

My Photo

brandgym coaching services

  • Vision to Action
    Creating an inspiring brand vision, positioning and action plan, including Brand Purpose, Brand Revitalisation and Global Branding
  • Grow the Core
    Creating ideas to sell more of the core, including Turbo-charged Marketing Plans and Category Growth Visions
  • Brand Stretch
    Strategic innovation to create new products and services, including New Brand Devt, Brand Portfolio Strategy and Brand Architecture
  • brandgym partner network
    More about the opportunity to become a brandgym partner, and who we're looking for

brandgym books

« Logo slapping frenzy for phones | Main | WTS? Book: Amazon video »



It Doesn't matter if that ring came out of a blbube gum machine. The ring does not pick the length of the relationship, the wedding, the marriage, or anything else. Its materialized and its meant to show that you are married to someone that you are in love with. No more or less. Personally I think its insane to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding band/ring I don't understand it they can get lost or messed up. Girl you should be proud to show EVERYONE that ring because you are getting married to your prince and you are in love and no one else has any say about it. Haters are always going to hate. The more haters you have the more popular you are.

air force one

Can in the limited day many lovely times, is lengthening own life! the academic society forgives others, in our old that one day, will discover that the life each vertex no longer will have because of the regret which narrow will create, also will give other people's life to increase joyful and the luminescent spot. After all, only then US, is eternal!

it would had saved me a lot of headaches. Great post for guiding beginners. Thanks for sharing!


I can feel another ramble coming on...

Both actions and communication are important! People trust, relate to and look up to their immediate managers much more than the exec team, who are much more remote. So to be trusted and authentic, managers need to walk the talk - role-model the actions / behaviours needed. But they still need to talk to their employees, and listen to them to get their feedback and ideas. How else are employees supposed to get engaged in the vision and priorities of the business and feel they're contributing if their managers don't communicate with them? There needs to be a dialogue between managers and their teams to achieve max trust and alignment.

Of course having a great product builds pride, and it's that pride that is one component part of engagement. A friend of mine actually provides a PR service to companies where great external PR coverage is used internally to build pride in the workplace. All I'd argue is that you can't depend on any one factor in isolation. They are all interdependent. Engagement comes from a combination of factors - reward, recognition, communication, understanding of the strategy, line of sight, relationship with manager, internal culture, personal development, pride etc.

Without wanting to hedge, I am reluctant to tell you which brands I know of where engagement and productivity is low because as clients they wouldn't thank me for divulging that information. They are complex situations, brands which have a great heritage / reputation and and have enjoyed great performance in the past. But poor performance due to competition / market forces has forced change, which results in restructuring, a change in strategy, systems and processes etc. This hasn't been communicated well, change fatigue, cynicism and confusion sets in, people jump ship and morale and productivity slides.

Alison, Thanks for such a detailed and interesting comment. This is just the sort of debate we want. You are right to point out its a mix of things.

A few things I'd like to pick up on:
1. You say "I know plenty of companies where the product is great, but morale and productivity are at rock-bottom." => Can you share with us which these companies are please? I'm not convinced!

2. Second, do you (or anyone else) have examples where the product is mediocre, yet people are engaged?

3. The point on causality came up before...what comes first... a great product/service leading to engaged people... or engaged people leading to a great product/service!
=> I strongly feel on the product side that its product=>engagement...James Dyson had great product from the start, attracting great people, leading to even better product. => Even on the service side, I still think that the key is NOT communication, but rather putting in place systems, training, rewards to help people deliver great service

4. Anyone out there who works for, or worked for, Apple to get an inside line?
=> How much engagement comes from seeing the ACTIONs of the leaders, starting with Jobs. And how much from leaders TALKING to people
=> I still feel that the key is for leaders to do more, and talk less to create engagement


I suspect Apple gave their employees an i-phone because 1) to get the product out on time would have required a monumental, round-the-clock effort by all, and they did it 2) because Apple is great at PR and know how to get some extra publicity 3) because Apple knows full well that recognition and thanks (ie giving them an i-phone) are a critical component part of employee engagement. Also, because a brand needs to live and breathe internally, not just externally.

Great products / services do not automatically create an engaged workforce. Great products and service are the RESULTS of an engaged workforce, which in turn builds pride and greater productivity. And when employees are recognised and thanked for their efforts (eg given an Apple i-phone) you'll build that pride even more. It's a self-perpetuating cycle.

It's naive to think that the product alone is responsible for engaging employees. However good the product, employees need to understand the strategy and vision of the organisation, why they are doing what they're doing, the role they are playing personally in it. Morover, an open culture of dialogue and communication between managers and their teams, not to mention pay, reward and recognition, is critically important. I also believe that good employers encourage their employees to 'live' the brand that is communicated to the outside world. Well done again Apple.

I know plenty of companies where the product is great, but morale and productivity are at rock-bottom. Employee engagement is never down to one single factor. It's a combination of many.

David Taylor (brandgym)

Chuck, Are you kidding? Did you not see the people queueing outside the Apple Store? In the rain. In tents.

The point was that Apple doesn't need the usual engagement tricks (big shows, presentations, intranets etc.) because the products do all the talking. People like working for Apple beacause of what they do as a company.

And rather than send all the employees an email or PDF with the iPhone news, they gave them a $600 phone. Imagine how they felt going out to see friends on the iPhone waiting list when they pulled out their own.

If they didn't feel "engaged" at that point, then what did they feel?!

Chuck Yorke

Giving people a phone (even an iPhone) is a pretty poor definition of engagement.

David Zinger

I love your title while not agreeing with it. I think your premise about having an excellent product or service is really important in engagement yet there are companies with "excellent" products or services with low levels of engagement.

Do we give them something to engage employees when I thought the research suggested that the single biggest influencer on engagement was relationships at work specifically with the person you report to.

I did some work in a Limestone plant in Northern Manitoba (way up in Canada). Not a pretty product yet what an incredible group of engaged employees not base on t-shirts or comapny hats but on a strong work ethic in the community and strong bonds between the people working there.

I so much appreciated your point, "Forget that fancy event, or sophisticated new internal communication programme. Work on the reason your company exists in the first place: to make a product or service that blows the socks of your customers, and employees." I think this is so often neglected when employee engagement is perceived as a little something extra (a hat or event) to pump up the employees rather than part of a well-woven organization that creates excellent products and services in conjunction with excellent leadership and employees.

Thanks for the post and the excellent title!


Straight out, that is cool. Any company that wants to invest in their employees (the cynical person might say these are the leftover iPhones they can't sell! ;) ) like that deserves more than a second look.

If only there were more employers that were serious about engaging with their staff and in doing so encouraging them to believe in what they are trying to do...

David Taylor (brandgym)

Mark V. - You raise a fair point, esp. when it comes to service brands, about what comes first- the engaged employee or the great service!

The bigger point for me was that instead of trying to communicate with employees, companies were better off working on the product service. Rather than talking about the need for good service, put in place things that make it easier for people to serve customers.

On the product side though, I think your point is less valid. Dyson started with the brilliance of James Dyson, and this attracted talent, which in turn made even better products. He didn't need to engage people... the product did all the talking.

Kevin: Apple giving an iPhone...again, fair point... its engagement Jim, but not as we know it!

Mark V.

I would have to argue that the "bloody brilliant product or service" is the end result of having engaged employees, which in turn, attracts others who wish to be engaged. Handing out iPhones or trying to attract talent through clever ads such as Dyson's may get people's attention, but the corporate culture must ALLOW engagement to begin with; people need to be able to express their views, the work has to be interesting and varied, trying and failing must be expected and encouraged not shunned and feared. Create the environment, and the brilliant products will follow.

Kevin Keohane

Isn't giving employees an iPhone by default employee engagement? Engagement is dead. Lond live engagement :)

johnmoore (from Brand Autopsy)

David ... nice riff. It's funny how an engaging brand begets engaged employees.

The comments to this entry are closed.