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News & Press: IMA News & Press Releases

What’s the Secret to a Great Brand? Employees Who Live It!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014   (0 Comments)

New White Paper Links Branding and Cultural Initiatives

  • An inferior culture can undermine the brand and profits
  • Business leaders must nurture collaboration, inclusion, recognition
  • Marketing needs to add a 5th “P”—“People”

Nov.  6, 2014 - Rosemont, IL – “Employees have the ability to make or break the customer’s brand experience,” according to a new white paper issued by the Incentive Marketing Association’s Recognition Council entitled The Intersection of Brand and Culture: Leveraging Engaged Employees as Brand Ambassadors.

In the paper, the Council examines how an organization’s brand and its culture are interrelated—pointing out that “an inferior corporate culture can quickly hijack the best marketing plans,” damaging the brand and directly impacting profitability. The paper goes on to demonstrate how fostering a culture of collaboration, inclusion and recognition can strengthen employee engagement and, ultimately, the corporate brand.

The paper also advocates that the traditional marketing mix, consisting of “Product, Placement, Promotion and Price,” should be expanded to include a fifth “P”—“People.” Within that framework, the paper urges marketing, human resources and business leaders to collaborate in order to create the kind of culture that encourages brand appropriate behavior.

The paper’s author, Recognition Council member Janet North, who is also Director of Incentives & Recognition for Staples Promotional Products says, “In the past, recognition and cultural programs were often viewed as ‘feel good’ initiatives, but now I’m seeing more organizations blending cultural and branding objectives in order to leverage employee recognition as a strategy to execute the business plan.”
Recognition Council President Cindy Mielke, who is also Vice President of Marketing at Marketing Innovators, agrees, “More of our clients are paying attention to the fact that a total recognition program, and not just a sales incentive or service anniversary program, is a key ingredient for success,” says Cindy Mielke, Vice President of Marketing at Marketing Innovators. “It’s critical to first, and foremost, communicate and then reward all employees to get alignment with corporate goals.”

This newest insight from the Recognition Council is part of its continuing mission as the strategic industry group of the Incentive Marketing Association responsible for increasing awareness of how recognition and reward programs should be leveraged by organizations to drive their business plans. To read the complete paper, go to

The Recognition Council is a strategic industry group within the Incentive Marketing Association that educates and promotes the benefits of recognition and rewards to the worldwide business community. More information is available at

Business improves when employees and customers are recognized, rewarded, and engaged through effectively structured programs with defined goals and proven returns. The Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) is comprised of the companies who are leaders in the incentive industry. IMA provides education, resources and research to promote the use of incentive programs to the business community and is the umbrella organization for the Global Incentive Council, the Incentive Gift Card Council, the Incentive Manufacturers & Representatives Alliance, the Incentive Travel Council, the Performance Improvement Council, the Recognition Council, IMA-Australia Council, IMA-Canada Council and IMA-Europe Council. More information about IMA and the incentive marketplace is available at

Incentive Marketing Association (IMA)
9700 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 210
Rosemont, IL 60018
(847) 447-1082

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