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Brand Spanking

5:00 PM -- From today's PR pile, a question I'd rather not think about:

What does "internal marketing" mean to you?


Well, I don't know. And, unfortunately, the news release went on to explain. It says that employers should make employees fall so in love with the company and its brand that their enthusiasm rubs off on the company's customers. Like a virus.

The news release promotes the efforts of Susan Drake, president of Spellbinders, a marketing consultancy. She says the best kinds of employees are the "people whose passion for what they do erases the boundaries of service."

And if you required an example of what she's talking about, boy, were you ever rewarded:

A truck driver was transporting a load of cows across the country. Although he would normally spend the night in his 18-wheeler, the cows were mooing so much he couldn't sleep. He checked into a Hampton Inn hotel (a Spellbinders client, incidentally) and, after a good night's sleep, mentioned the problem to the breakfast hostess. She informed him that the poor cows needed milking -- and went outside and did the job herself.


I don't know much about internal marketing and I've never met Susan Drake. But this I do know: The next time I leave town, I will not be lodging at the Hampton Inn.

And if I accidentally do spend the night, I will make it a point to not burden the breakfast hostess with tales of financial difficulties, my fear of missing a deadline, or my chronic back troubles. There's no telling what hijinks would ensue if some batty hotel waitress got it in her head that she ought to stabilize my lumbar.

Anyway, I'm prone to disagree with Ms. Drake that such overeager, gullible employees are the kind you want running around your shop. If a weepy trucker can convince you to milk a trailer full of cows, what kind of peril would you be in should you ever come across a real scam artist?

I'd much rather surround myself with a group of sharp-tongued clockwatchers that don't have time to learn about the company brand. If "internal marketing" sounds like a medical procedure to you, for my money, you're hired. — Phil Harvey, Internal Marketing Editor, Light Reading

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