Employee Benefits: Workers as Brand Ambassadors


By year's end, franchisees and employees became part of a pitch touting the launch of a new Domino's recipe, at the expense of the company's previous offering. Weiner explained, without irony, "It's about being transparent as a company; we're showing you the people who make your food."

Like others interviewed for this story, he underscored the morale boost to staffers. "The campaign became great 'invertising' as well," he said. "Our franchisees and employees loved seeing themselves. It was compelling to consumers and motivating to our staffers."

Not all employee reps move the needle for every marketer. Last April, Nationwide Insurance rolled out a campaign themed "I Am on Your Side" showing agents describing actual customer stories. The company has since scrapped the idea. "The 'I am' communication and stories were all great, but we didn't break through. Those were extraordinary stories, and we made them very powerful. But maybe we were talking to ourselves a bit," said Steven Schreibman, Nationwide vp, advertising, brand management. "At the end of the day, the consumer doesn't care so much about what you did for someone else. That's harder to project. They want to know: 'What's in it for me?'" Similarly, H&R Block dropped its "I've got people" employee ad focus and unveiled a new pitch in December that looked at tax preparation from more of a consumer point of view.

Rob Frankel, a New York marketing consultant, is also skeptical about the popular marketing tack: "Viewers aren't hoodwinked. They know they're watching a 30-second TV spot paid for by a company."