I spent a fantastic day with the fine folks over at Motorola in Austin earlier this week (welcome to the blog, btw) Lurker Len, Ben, George and the rest...it was great meeting you all.
As a thank you, they gave me a brand spanking new Razr phone (can you sense the theme this week?) and as tough as it was to bid adieu to the kick-ass Q (I'll stay loyal to Cingular for now), I was equally happy to pass this one on to my wife (pink's not my color)
Their generosity (and it's already paying off) inspired a thought (and new buzzphrase) which I wanted to elaborate on - it's called Brand T&E.
Everyone in sales is only too familiar with the concept of T&E and the importance of spending one's quota on clients, prospects and the like. Sometimes, salespeople are so intensely focused on closing deals, that they neglect their T&E and with it, the importance of long term relationship building.
So why should brands be any different? Corporations should assign aggressive "Brand T&E" budgets which select key employees are charged with delivering against. Their task is to make sure that loyalists, buzz-inclined influencers, and yes of course...the blogosphere and podosphere (but it's really bigger than that) are reached out and touched in some way, shape or form. It will lead to guaranteed sampling, act as an inevitable word-of-mouth catalyst and ensure that a conversation begins and a dialogue ensues.
Now here's the key and perhaps the catch...their performance reviews, evaluations and even bonus or cash compensation should be tied to their ability to spend their brand T&E allocation.
Sound like a stretch? It isn't. Just ask the Ritz-Carlton and other proactive service-based and consumer-centric organizations that have successfully empowered their employees to walk, talk and live the brand experience with their liveblood: their customers.