28 December 2009

Why Companies Keep It Under Wraps

A week ago, Fast Company carried a post from Peter Clarke's blog (http://www.fastcompany.com/tag/peter-clarke) about steeling ourselves on Christmas morning for the inevitable flare-ups of wrap rage: the heightened levels of frustration, anger and injury potential resulting from one's inability to open a package.

Wrap rage is triggered by retailers' need for products that self-merchandise without the fear of theft. Apparently US retailers suffer losses from pilferage of more than US$10 billion annually.

I'll leave you to read the post for yourself (it's informative and insightful, and well worth the time even though it's past Christmas); and limit my comments to the statistic that leapt off the page for me:
According to the 2009 Global Retail Theft Barometer, the majority of retail theft is carried out by store employees. 44% of all retail losses are the result of employee theft. 35% is attributed to shoplifting; 15% attributed to administrative error; and 4% to vendor fraud.

Not many service organizations are keen to track or report these numbers. Do you ever wonder why?

If companies don't take the time and make the effort to cascade their core brand values throughout the organization, if the company's leaders don't align individual goals to company objectives, if employees are not given a clear line of sight from their actions to the resultant impact on the company's top and bottom lines, how in the world can you expect employees to live and breathe the brand, to correctly interpret core brand values, to be loyal to the organization? Yet often line managers merely pay lip service to the intertwining of brand and business strategy. They think branding is fluffy, and don't have the time for anything that doesn't goose their numbers.

If your company isn't cranking up its brand internalization and employee engagement programs, don't be surprised if your inventory and brand equity walk out the door.

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