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Journal Selections from MSI

Employee Behavior Can Build Your Brand

Aligning frontline service employee behavior with brand positioning can positively affect customer’s responses, especially for new or unfamiliar brands.

While brand encounters are not regularly managed as part of the brand’s positioning strategy, research in the Journal of Marketing shows that service interactions between frontline employees and customers can reinforce brand meaning.

In one study, Nancy Sirianni, Mary Jo Bitner, Stephen Brown, and Naomi Mandel demonstrate that employee–brand alignment increases overall brand evaluations and customer-based brand equity, with more pronounced results for unfamiliar brands. In a second study, they show that conceptual fluency (the ease with which customers can process and understand brand meaning) underlies the effect of employee–brand alignment on overall brand evaluations for unfamiliar brands.  

Service encounters where frontline service employees “live the brand” can be a critical brand-building tool.

Additional studies reveal the importance of employee authenticity and extend the generalizability of these findings to a wider variety of service contexts.

Download article from American Marketing Association (free until March 23, 2014)
Branded Service Encounters: Strategically Aligning Employee Behavior with the Brand Positioning by Nancy J. Sirianni, Mary Jo Bitner, Stephen W. Brown, and Naomi Mandel, Journal of Marketing (November 2013)

Journal Selections from MSI (March 2014)

Related links

The New Branding Imperatives: Insights for the New Marketing Realities
Kevin Lane Keller (2010) [Report]

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