Perfect symmetry in the brand experience: B2C and B2E

April 12, 2021
Strategy & Innovation
Luca Lisci
|
Daniela de Giorgi

“You can’t sell it outside if you can’t sell it inside. ”
Stan Slap CEO and Founder of SLAP

Think about it. To sell anything you need resources, skills and tools. But you also need commitment, trust and loyalty to the brand.

 

An experiential system that does not involve the integration of these elements is a lame system. Companies don’t sell their products and services. Rather, it’s the people that are part of those companies along with the consumer communities that follow those companies that decide their success or failure.

 

This is why Stan Slap, CEO and Founder of SLAP, an American company, says that his mission is to achieve maximum commitment in the three "decisive groups" for the success of a company: the culture of the manager, the culture of employees and the culture of the customer. 

 

We are not talking about people here, but about cultures that were formed along with the relationships born from the meeting of these groups with the company.  

 

That’s a powerful perspective. Do you see it?  

 

In particular, we find it interesting that these three cultures are put on an equal footing. This gives us the opportunity to focus on the relationships and journeys of customers and employees, too often considered distant.

 

But isn't it true that the paths of these two targets are more similar than it would seem at first glance?

 

We can say that listening, analysing, understanding, acknowledging and anticipating our customers’ requests will improve their experiences and therefore their satisfaction and loyalty towards our brands. We can say the same thing about the employee and their journey in the company.   

 

For us, the symmetry of the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-employee (B2E) journey is much more than just intuition, it is precisely the way that we approach B2E communication projects at Bixuit. 

 

We embraced this approach about a year ago when we conducted a series of B2E communication workshops for a well-known luxury brand in the fashion sector.  

 

Do you want to find out what happened and how we arrived at the identification of perfectly symmetrical B2C and B2E brand experience journeys?   

 

Perfect, keep reading.  

Index

    Bixuit's approach to business-to-employee communication

    Article by Daniela De Giorgi (Communications Strategist) 

    First of all, let us clarify a few points.

     

    The communication to the employee is made up of engagement, the ability of the company to listen, analyse and open a dialogue naturally leading the employee towards the brand. Just like the customer.

     

    On the other hand, in an ideal marketing funnel, we create content that speaks to our audience to build a relationship that will only eventually, if we have done a good job, turn into conversion. Here, the very concept of conversion can be translated into the employee's corporate journey.  

    The employee community is a key vehicle of the company's values ​​and the employee is an active agent capable of profoundly influencing the fate of the company in a continuous, simple, and fruitful conversation.   

     

    That's why personal information, personalization opportunities, and tailor-made communications that are as dynamic, interactive, and omnichannel as possible are three fundamental pillars of the employee experience.

     

    For a well-known luxury brand in the fashion sector, we were asked to develop a strategy and hypotheses to improve the employee experience starting from their intranet. The workshop aimed to imagine the most effective strategies for the loyalty and participation of all the people who create value around the brand. 

     

    In this post, we retrace the steps that led us to observe the parallelism between the B2C and B2E business journeys.

    B2E marketing: the brand grows as the relationship with the customer and employee evolves

    We have already dealt with the importance of developing a deep connection with one's internal audience in the article Corporate culture and the new People Management challenging digital transformation.  

     

    Now let's take it one step further.  

    B2E marketing includes all the activities undertaken by companies to attract and retain qualified staff in a competitive market. The aim of these efforts is to create a sense of belonging and community.

     

    And because we like data, here are some interesting numbers that testify to the fact that an engaged employee is a more productive employee. 

    Employee productivity and employee engagement are related as seen in the report by HR Katha powered by Vantage Circle
    Decoding and driving employee engagement 2021
    HR Katha powered by Vantage Circle

    Now that we have supported our thesis with statistical data, let's get back to our approach.

     

    A classic customer journey includes the pre-sales, sales, and post-sales phases, and everything else in between in terms of messages and actions. Similarly, the employee journey is made up of pre-employment, employment, and retention phases.  

     

    In both cases, the brand journey with its experiences offered to the two targets plays a fundamental role in first creating interest, then consideration, trust, and therefore a real sense of belonging and complete identification with the values ​​of the brand.  

    brand journey from both the perspective of consumer and employee
    Evolution of the customer and employee relationship with the brand - The Employee Experience, Bixuit 2020 

    Through integrated communication and marketing campaigns, we note how it is possible, thanks to joint actions, to obtain the final conversion of the customer who eventually becomes a brand promoter and the total commitment of the employee who becomes a brand booster.  

    We move from large retention spaces in which the objectives are respectively for the customer the will and for the employee the propensity to interact with the brand, to membership spaces where their relationships become closer with the customer expressing a preference, while the employee makes an endorsement.

     

    In this time frame and within these spaces, the moment of conversion occurs, on the one hand from "non-customer" to "customer" and on the other from "non-employee" to "employee".    

    But when can the brand be said to be strengthened by the effectiveness of these two mirror experiences?

     

    Precisely when we move to the ownership space. That's where the customer lends their loyalty to the brand to the point of promoting it; while the loyal employee supports and sponsors the brand firsthand.

    evolution of both customer and employee contribute to the evolution of the brand itself
    Customers and employees influence your brand - The Employee Experience, Bixuit 2020

    Now you have more tools to evaluate the experience your brand offers to both targets. Remember that both customers and employees, who have reached a certain level of relationship with your brand, turn into "influencers".

     

    Do you think this is adequate or did you notice something missing?  

    From the B2C funnel to the B2E funnel: the actions that trigger the evolution in the relationship with the brand

    To move up the B2C and B2E funnels and make customers and employees live the brand experience in a fluid and profitable way, we need to unleash certain actions.  

     

    The latter, on the customer's side, is related to the reputation and pleasure of using a certain product or service offered by their brand; while on the employee's side, are related to the reputation that is associated with their role in the company and the remuneration that they receive. 

    Climb up from b2c funnel to b2e funnel by working on the actions in the brand experience
    Working on joint actions to achieve an optimal brand experience –
    The Employee Experience, Bixuit 2020

    The reputation of the brand is therefore a key element in both funnels. The fact that I, as a customer, use a certain product or service makes me a certain type of person because I identify with that brand as opposed to another. Likewise, as an employee who works for this brand, I am a spokesperson for its values ​​internally and externally.   

    In a sense, the way a brand communicates and the experiences it offers describes the very essence of the brand better than any other activity. Therefore, it is clear that reputation is a central and dear issue, both to the customer and the employee.  

    brand reputation is a core asset both for the customer and for the employee
    Indoor and outdoor touchpoints contribute to the brand's 360° experience –
    The Employee Experience, Bixuit 2020

    A brand's reputation has two dimensions. One that’s public, external touchpoints accessible to everyone, like their website and social networks; and the other, private, like internal touchpoints such as a brand’s intranet.   

    According to the method we use to work in these cases, these dimensions are not split but they talk to each other and through a continuous exchange of information they strengthen the identity of the brand.  

    Design guidelines for technology enablers and intranet features

    If you remember correctly, at the beginning of the article we talked about a business-to-employee communication project that aimed to develop a strategy and hypotheses to improve the experience of employees, starting from their intranet.  

     

    Following the workshops, the duality of the brand experience emerged, as experienced by the customer and the employee, described in the previous paragraphs.

      

    Continuing the elaboration of the results of our workshops, we came to define design guidelines, the so-called Design Strategy, on which the entire project would be based.  

    Do you want to know what emerged?  

    Read on.

     

    First of all, our design strategy was that all technology enablers and all intranet features should be designed to provide employees with 3 skills:

    1.    Learn

    2.   Do

    3.   Lead

     

    Let's look at them one by one.  

    Learn

    We are in the initial phase of retention. It takes the form of training tools that enable the exchange between colleagues in order to share the know-how necessary to"build " and "participate" in the value of the brand.

     

    This skill is based on the principles of accessibility to training, sharing of knowledge, and participation in the brand culture.

    Do

    The "do" skill, which already involves sharing values, is enabled by simple access to resources and collaboration between colleagues as a productivity multiplier. 

    This second skill is based on the principles of "happy" productivity, ease of doing, and teamwork as a natural working condition.

    Lead

    The action after conversion is to guide oneself and others: motivate, grow, enhance.

    The brand benefits from proactivity and good intentions by putting people at the centre.

     

    Here, the key concepts on which this third aspect is based are: to involve in order to perform, the brand that is the engine of propositions, and individuals as the champion of the brand.  

    The synthesis of the principles that emerged during the collection phase gives life to the concept of a homepage

    So here we are.

    How can the principles that have emerged so far be put in place?

    An affinity diagram shows how the topics information training and empowerment, are connected by the networking
    The Affinity Diagram – The Employee Experience

    The affinity diagram here helps us to highlight and connect the topics covered.

     

    As we can see at the center of information, training, and empowerment, there is networking.

    Relationships are the cornerstone of this project.

    Then there are a series of "attributes" that add further support to define the experience approach. Let's talk about modalities, welfare and other initiatives, touchpoints and other user experience strategies.  

     

    If we cluster the data that has emerged, we have the features that serve to build a concept for the intranet homepage, consistent with the desired objectives.

    Qualifications, design strategy and functional macro-blocks emerged from the workshop, highlights the key features of the concept for the intranet page
    Qualifications, design strategy and functional macro-blocks that emerged from the workshops –
    The Employee Experience, Bixuit 2020

    The analysis of the values​​ expressed allowed us to give an ideal weight and positioning to the blocks, which represent the relevance of the identified functions. Here, the drawing takes shape.   

    An evolved calendar meets the Learn/Do/Lead principles, connecting to all other features
    An evolved calendar meets the Learn/Do/Lead principles, connecting to all other features – The EmployeeExperience, Bixuit 2020

    We then used the function groupings that emerged in the workshop evaluating the Learn-do-Lead enablement for each one and thus obtained a first homepage organization.

    the first homepage concept organization is set on tools like a calendar, the branding, the corporate and social networking
    HP concepts ketch – The Employee Experience, Bixuit 2020

    Finally, applying the principles of simplification, we rearranged the draft to obtain our concept for the homepage.  

    the final homepage concept provides a sort of hub through which the user enable himself to use tools, a new agenda and the accessibility to the contents of the brand
    The concept for an intranet homepage – The Employee Experience, Bixuit 2020

    Conclusions

     

    In this article, we have shown you, through a concrete example, how you can take advantage of designing integrated B2B and B2E experiences to evolve relationships with your internal and external targets.   

     

    At Spindox Bixuit we have applied the symmetrical model of the B2B - B2E brand journey to several cases, being able to observe how effective it is in creating experiences aimed at creating long-lasting relationships with the brand, preserving its identity.  

     

    In the article Corporate culture and the new People Management at the challenge of digital transformation, you can discover the Spindox Bixuit Data Thinking Framework dedicated to HR, which we use to facilitate innovation processes of our customers.  

    If you found this article interesting, let us know on our social profiles on LinkedIn and Instagram.

    Authors

    Luca Lisci
    Head of Design, CXO, Author, Angel Investor

    Develops his career across Design and Marketing. In 25+ years he founded its endeavors on the vibrant mix of humanities and technology exploited by the Internet revolution. He's a designer, a thinker and a maker working to make good things happen, day by day.

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    Daniela de Giorgi
    Communication Strategist

    Raised in the digital space, but with a strong humanistic bent. She combines a background as a digital marketer and a soul as a content designer.

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