Thursday, December 20, 2007

Alex Frankel's Unique View of Brands

On yesterday's Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 on CNN 650), I had the opportunity to interview Alex Frankel, author of the popular book, Punching In. He provided interesting insights on the development of brands today and has appeared on ABC News, Wall Street Journal, and in USA Today. He applied for and served in entry level positions at UPS. Enterprise, Gap, Starbucks, and Apple. At those companies he got to see the relationship customers have with business at the most common meeting place -- through front line employees.

In it, he discusses the training experiences (all but Enterprise primarily had on the job training exclusively). On a personal level, he found Apple the most interesting (it is made up of people who are passionate and informed about the product) and Gap the least interesting (where he actually remembers the exact number of clothes he folded on a single day, which was the primary activity of the store's employees).

In it, he also assesses the value of the training employees received and the struggle each of these companies had keeping employees in the long term. I believe that this book's approach is one of the most valuable insights into the challenges in the way brands are developed. One would have to pay thousands to acquire this kind of information through traditional research. I suggest people save the money and pick up this interesting book online. If you are an employer looking for what works and what doesn't when it comes to your employees and branding, this book is excellent for you.

Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review.

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