Tag Archives: employee engagement

Telling Your Brand Story: NCR’s Innovative Approach






“People don’t have relationships with products, they are loyal to brands.”

So says Scott Goodson in his September 2012 Forbes Marketshare post, “Why Brand-building is Important.” 

My client, NCR, gets this — on Oct. 10, this Duluth-based leader in consumer transaction technologies launched its new brand — Everyday Made Easier™ through a companywide “Live the Brand Awards” webcast that showcased some of the company’s best brand moments. The company’s storytellers have adopted the new engaging voice of the brand in all their internal and external communications.

“The NCR brand reflects a new look, feel and voice that clearly communicates who we are and the difference NCR is making in people’s lives all over the world,” says Caroline Rose, integrated marketing partner in NCR Travel Marketing. “NCR technology empowers 450 million consumer transactions everyday, many of them in the travel space, whether checking in for a flight, navigating your way through an airport, picking up a rental car or buying something at duty free. Our goal within NCR Travel is really to build upon that story by conveying to our customers and prospects how NCR is making everyday travel easier for their customers as well.”

(To get a feel for how the Travel marketing folks are using the new brand language, check out their engaging animation video).

But, well before the official brand launch, NCR’s Corporate Communications team was promoting the brand internally.  As anyone who has gone through a corporate rebranding effort will tell you, getting employees on board with telling your company’s brand story is critical to success. For one, if your employees don’t buy into your brand, why should customers?

Employees can be your biggest asset as brand ambassadors, notes Michael Brito, senior VP for social business strategy at global PR firm, Edelman. In his August 2013 Edelman Conversations’ blog post,  “Employees and Brand Journalism,” Brito emphasized how your brand must empower employees to become storytellers.

Citing his firm’s 2013 Trust Barometer report that measures the level of trust people have in institutions, industries and leaders, respondents were very clear about who they find most credible when seeking information about a brand or company:  half of those surveyed found a regular employee in the company as credible.

NCR fully embraces this idea — sharing helpful resources such as its new brand voice guide with employees, and engaging in a cross-cutting communications campaign to get staff excited and engaged well before the brand debuted publicly.

Beginning in early September, NCR began running a series of intranet features (including fun facts, CE Feature Graphicemployee interviews and videos) designed to showcase how its customer-facing Services employees “live the brand’ every day.

The largest division, NCR Services, includes the company’s global team of service support professionals. NCR Services’ goal is to deliver innovative customer service while ensuring on-time installation and maintenance of consumer transaction technology worldwide.

“Our brand is all about making every day easier,” notes Nancy Berry, senior communications manager for NCR Services. “We wanted to celebrate the members of our services team who directly represent the NCR brand to customers in their daily work. In the process of telling these Services stories, we sought to convey how are Services team members are trusted, innovative, vibrant and agile – key attributes of our brand.”

The campaign ran during September on the company’s intranet, and began by focusing on the work of NCR service technicians, who are known as Customer Engineers or CEs. The feature included a flash video that provided a glimpse into the CE’s daily work, photos of some of the unusual locations CEs visit to service equipment (e.g., an ATM in the visitor center atop Europe’s highest mountain), and an interactive video where viewers could test their equipment troubleshooting skills. Another spotlight focused on the Services Parts team and included a photo montage depicting a part’s journey from order receipt to delivery in the field as well as interviews with Parts team members about the importance of representing the brand. Each intranet feature included compelling graphics and little-known facts about the featured group.

“The features served two purposes,” says Nancy. “We wanted to make sure our employees in the field were well-represented in our brand launch celebrations, and at the same time, we wanted to educate the rest of NCR about the great work these team members are doing to support our customers on a 7x24x365 basis.”

“Representing the NCR brand well is indeed something I think about in my daily work,” says Heather Dunham, who was featured in a story about the Parts team. “When it comes to customer service, parts availability is a top priority. My goal is to have service parts readily available when they are needed.”

To learn more about NCR’s brand launch, visit http://www.ncr.com/about-ncr/everydaymadeeasier or read the company’s recent blog post about living the brand.




Social Storytelling: Cbeyond’s 31 Days of Yammer


Rashida Powell and Amy MacKinnon led Cbeyond’s employee engagement campaign on Yammer.

I’m marking 14 years as a storyteller to organizations by celebrating  my clients’ storytelling journeys. Today, I turn to Cbeyond, a leading business technology ally, to learn about its innovative use of enterprise social networking. 

Cbeyond’s character and culture have long embraced engaging employees, through the example of Cbeyond’s Founder Jim Geiger, who talked about his company’s character-driven culture and the role of communication at a September 2011 IABC Atlanta meeting. Jim founded Cbeyond in 1999 out of a desire to change the dynamic for small and mid-sized businesses under-served by other communications providers.

It’s not surprising that Cbeyond became an early adopter of social enterprise networking tools to bring employees together, deploying Yammer company-wide in October 2011. Within a year, its Yammer community swelled from 400 to 1,600 members.

“Our vision for our social enterprise network is to help Cbeyonders collaborate more across functions, manage projects better and create a community. At the corporate level, we use Yammer to create a dialogue around our corporate strategy and initiatives – it’s all about being more transparent and open about what we’re doing,” says Amy MacKinnon, Cbeyond Internal Communications.

cbeyond-screenshot2For Cbeyond’s one-year anniversary on Yammer, the internal communications team  unveiled “31 Days of Yammer”, a highly engaging campaign that included a host of activities, from daily tips to weekly contests such as the “Get Your Yam on from ANYWHERE” contest, where employees were encouraged to download Yammer’s mobile app.   

The month-long celebration coincided with Cbeyond’s annual “Week of Service” held in October when employees from all 15 markets engage in volunteer activities in their communities. They were encouraged to post pictures of their volunteer efforts using the #2012WeekofService tag.

“Uploads on Yammer hit the roof that week,” recalls Rashida Powell, then-manager of the Yammer channel for Cbeyond, adding that adoption rates of Yammer have continued to grow.

yammer-logo-ps3Yammer’s own blog credits Cbeyond’s “31 Days of Yammer” campaign that it covered in 2012 as a best practice for organizations to overcome “business as usual” and continue to create buzz and grow adoption for Yammer after the initial launch.

“This effort was born when Cbeyond celebrated their month-long Yammer anniversary, and has evolved as other community managers were inspired to deliver their own and iterate on the approach,” the blog post stated, citing Manhattan Associates embarking on its own ’31 Days of Yammer’ to uncover great work, celebrate successes and coach employees on working smarter and faster.

Cbeyond has continued to build momentum through feature campaigns in 2013, with themes such as a health-and-wellness for January, celebrating Cbeyond’s Character in February, and Going Green in April to coincide with Earth Day.  

“This campaign was the launching pad for getting really focused on leveraging social enterprise networking as a strategic engagement tool,” Amy concludes.