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"Brand Employer" Scores a Big One at Thomas Nelson

January 5, 2008

Too often corporate leadership fails to realize that brand management begins at home–internally, tni_color_horz_lo2.jpgwith its own employees. It’s the employees–from the executive suite to the warehouse–that are the front line of the customer experience. If we don’t like it where we are, the world’s finest marketers can’t bail out the poor consumer reaction that will follow. Companies must remember that its first customers are its employees. We don’t just care about the products we produce and sell, we care about the values of the company that employs us. If we believe in “brand company,” the resulting passion can raise the percentage points almost by itself.

So, kudos to my own company, Thomas Nelson, Inc. While it’s true that the Americaistock_000003119482xsmall.jpgn worker is most motivated by financial incentives, it’s equally true that health issues constitute a key issue of productivity–a healthier workforce is a more productive workforce.

And it’s in the health arena where Thomas Nelson has weighed in, and in my opinion, helped build its brand internally by addressing a real need (of consequence) to the workforce. Under the leadership of our recently appointed CEO, Mike Hyatt, we’ve seen these new (fun) incentives in the last year:

  1. Work out at the Y 3 times a week, and the company contribution to your membership is doubled. Plus you get 100 bucks after a year.
  2. Do Weight Watchers (on-site program) for a year, and the company kicks in a significant amount of the fees, plus $100 after a year.
  3. Oh, and I think you have to quit smoking too.
  4. And the fun one, if we run the Music City Marathon or Half-Marathon in April, the company pays our fees (which aren’t cheap) and gives us a $100 gift card. But this offer is perhaps the most inspirational, inspiring over 60 employees (out of about 500) to run last year. And this year Hyatt’s goal is to get a fourth of the workforce to participate. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he achieves it.

All this health interest by the company is pretty, er, contagious. Even though these initiatives aren’t “big” money, per se, they are the talk of the office for months, people are dropping weight like B-52’s, and frankly, it’s hard not to walk around and not be inspired by the people you work with. The real coup for the company is that we don’t actually have to participate in the health initiatives to appreciate Brand Thomas Nelson for having its heart in the right place.

And here’s the point, as it is in all my posts: Thomas Nelson has made an offer/promotion that addresses a consequential need (better health) of its constituency (employees in this case) and in so doing Brand Thomas Nelson gets a lift from that constituency. Score a 16 for the home team.

cv-thomas-nelson.jpg

If you want to see how serious the boss is about doing the marathon and why, run around on Hyatt’s blog for a while. Good stuff.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen permalink
    January 12, 2008 6:04 pm

    You laid out the internal and staff benefit well… and we saw how this got your “home team” some external and PR benefits, too. Well, you saw it if you live in Nashville. The “Tennessean” ran a photo today of two Thomas Nelson employees training for the half-marathon. The caption for the photo mentioned the Visa gift card, too.

    As is usually the case when you do what’s right for your employees other benefits fall into place.

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