Employees as Brand Advocates: Insights from Herman Miller
Three practices that have turned Herman Miller’s 5,000 employees into brand advocates.
Reporting by Marcus Erb
“It seems obvious that it’s not a question of what role employees play. They are the only ones who build your corporate reputation.” -- Brian Walker, CEO, Herman Miller
The making of a company’s brand is not just the responsibility of the marketing department; it’s in the hands of all of its employees. Spurred by movements such as social media, workers are ever more capable of building up their employer’s reputation or tearing it down. How does a leader inspire brand advocacy in employees? Brian Walker, CEO of Herman Miller, shared his perspective at the 2011 Great Place to Work® Conference in Denver, Colorado.
Michigan-based Herman Miller is an iconic furniture maker, responsible for a suite of cutting-edge products designed to improve the office work environment. Founded in 1923, Herman Miller now employs 5,000 people and enjoys sales of $1.3 billion. The company originally won recognition as a best workplace in Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz’s 1984 book, “The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America,” and subsequently won recognition multiple times in more recent Best Companies’ lists.
This article highlights three key ways the company inspires its employees to be brand advocates, all based on a tradition of people-focused leadership philosophies.