HumanSigma – Valuing Brands Gets Serious

Originally uploaded by wvs

Whenever an investment is proposed, the first question that is asked is, "what is the return?". In some instances the return on investment is easy to calculate — for example, automating repetitive tasks dramatically reduces transactional costs. But for intangibles such as "innovation" or "brand", metrics are a challenge. It’s not that we don’t WANT to measure the return on investment, it is just more difficult to measure and weigh the impacts of many inputs.

In a tweet yesterday, David Armano pointed me towards Mitch Owen’s interesting post at Lead2020 blog where he talks about Human Sigma — a new book by Gallup Consulting’s John Fleming. This is an approach that measures the emotional attachment of employees and customers and attempts to systematize it in an effort to improve performance across your organisation (or brand). Where this actually has some traction is the impact that employee and customer engagement has on the bottom line — that’s right — the intangibles provide a STRATEGIC contribution. Gallup’s research validates our suspicions that a happy workforce is a productive (and profitable) workforce — those companies with a highly engaged workforce grew earnings per share at over 2.6 times the rate of companies with low engagement ratings.

So how do you measure "engagement"?

The Gallup methodology is built around twelve questions that measure dimensions that leaders, managers and employees can influence. That is, the questions when answered, provide you with points that can be acted upon immediately. I have captured the twelve questions in the above graphic.
According to Mitch, the model for customer satisfaction revolves around for levels of emotional engagement:

Confidence: What are you doing to create customer trust in your services? Would your customers say you always deliver on your spoken and unspoken promises?
Integrity: Do you treat your customers fairly? When something goes wrong, do you apologize for the problem? How fair are you in resolving the problem?
Pride: Do your customers have a positive sense of association and identification with you? Are they proud to be your customer? Does their association with you mean something to them personally? Does it define their own self-concept of who they are?
Passion: Would your customers consider life not worth living without you? Ok.. that is a bit much, but the concept is the same… Are you indispensable? Would they drive across town for you? How much passion do they have for you?

Of course, the challenge is measuring these and combining them into a HumanSigma metric … which is where, I am sure, Gallup Consulting come into play. Nevertheless, this is EXACTLY the thing that agencies should be investigating … and one of the reasons that I continue to think that the greatest threat to the Agencies will come not from "digital" but from "consulting".

But here is a challenge for you … if you were to apply these twelve questions to a brand … what would they be? I am going to have a go at this too … but I would love to know your thoughts!