The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of managerial strategies in promoting employee brand consistent behavior. Using a recently developed holistic model of behavioral branding, that suggests that a wide array of managerial strategies affects the branding process, this study addresses two specific questions: what communication strategies, in the opinion of managers, sustain employee brand consistent behavior? And what are the most important factors, both contextual and related to their cognitive-emotional states, that employees think affect their brand ambassadorship behavior?Design/methodology/approachA long-term research program was conducted based on a multiple methods research strategy to answer the two questions. The choice of different methods was mainly based on the specific characteristics of the two targets: communication managers and employees. The first one based on interviews with 32 managers, and the second one based on a case study of a single company.FindingsThe results show that enablement-oriented strategies are more effective than communication-oriented strategies in sustaining employee brand builder roles. Weak employee commitment, unsatisfactory external communication, and low levels of motivation are strong contextual factors inhibiting employee attitudes to brand ambassadorship, one of the most relevant employee brand consistent behaviors in competitive contexts. The main practical implication is that companies should engage employees as brand ambassadors, not by means of prescriptions of in-role behavior, but enablement strategies leading to authentic and voluntary behaviors; besides, that companies should put a significant effort in “preparing the soil,” i.e. investing in enhancing employee commitment, level of motivation, and understanding/alignment with the external communication.Practical implicationsThe main practical implication is that companies should engage employees as brand ambassadors not by means of in-role behavior prescriptions rather by means of enablement strategies leading to authentic and voluntary behaviors. Besides, managers should invest significant efforts in enhancing employee motivation, commitment, and understanding/alignment to external communication as they represent key factors in sustaining brand ambassadorship behaviors.Originality/valueThe values of the study lies in having highlighted the crucial role of enablement-oriented strategies, and the relevance of specific contextual variables affecting the attitude of employee toward brand consistent behaviors.
EuroMed Journal of Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 30, 2018
Keywords: Internal branding; Brand ambassador; Brand-building strategies; Employee brand consistent behavior; Employee enablement