Branding & Compensation Strategy
Dannielle Blumenthal Ph.D.
* All opinions my own.
Brands Produce Value Out Of "Nothing"
• Generics are often just as good.
• External marketing activities create the
illusion of a premium product.
• The illusion is self-sustaining after the
The "Nothing" Is Real Employees
• Employees interact with customers.
• Employees innovate.
• Employees keep the system functional.
Divest Of Employees (Automate)
• “Employees are overhead.”
• “Employees are replaceable.”
• “Employees need us more than we need
• “Pay them as little as possible and trust
them even less.”
Brand Logic: Invest In Employees
• The cost of labor is an investment in brand
• Employees drive goodwill, reputation,
preference, irrational loyalty.
• Align compensation with the level of
contribution to the brand.
Sounds Harsh, But It’s Simple
• Exploited employees desert and destroy
your brand: Compensate them sufficiently
that they stay and continue adding value.
• Non-contributors kill the brand from the
inside: Remove them from the
Compensation Options Are
• Pay, bonus, cash award
• Secure employment contract
• Honors and awards
• Leadership opportunities, training, travel
• The sky’s the limit – be creative!
Minimize The Pay & Prestige Gap
• What message does it send when the
people who actually serve the customer
are paid minimum wage?
• Why are executives distant from the action
paid so much more, and treated so
• Is there a business benefit here, or is the
It’s About Being Smart, Not “Nice”
• Exploited employees can cause the brand
• They don’t engage at work, they are
undermining, they drag others down.
• They badmouth the organization.
• They join competitors.
• Better: Compensate & retain good
employees throughout the lifetime of the
relationship, and afterward.
Think Brand First
• The rest will follow.