peopleA company’s employees have a direct, major impact on brand reputation, according to a new research summary produced by the business thought leadership organization, The Forum: Business Results through People.

The report, “Why Employee Engagement Should Be Part of the Marketing Mix,” is the latest in a new series of research packages designed for marketing executives. The authors, Dr. Frank Mulhern of Northwestern University, and Jimmy Peltier and Andy Dahl of the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, studied the impact of employee engagement on customer satisfaction within service-based organizations, including extensive research at a major New York hospital. Their research showed a direct link between employee satisfaction and patient (customer) satisfaction, and that patients that had higher levels of satisfaction were most likely to recommend the hospital to others.

“A company’s employees are living, breathing embodiments of a company’s brand,” said Dr. Mulhern. “Keeping employees engaged and satisfied should be an important strategy for enhancing brand reputation and customer experience.”

The research suggests marketing leaders collaborate with other parts of their business, such as HR, operations, and sales, “to ensure that your hard work in creating great products, targeted messaging, and promotions is not wasted with a poor delivery experience,” and that long-term programs be in place to support and recognize employees at all levels of the organization.

“In our increasingly social world, the power of the customer is growing fast,” Dr. Mulhern said. “They can share a negative or positive experience with hundreds of their peers in the few seconds it takes to post a Facebook status. Viewing employment engagement and recognition as part of a marketing strategy can help ensure a brand’s reputation remains healthy and strong, resulting in better customer experience, more referrals, and a healthy bottom line.”

To read the entire research summary, visit The Forum’s website,

About the Forum

The Forum (, affiliated with Northwestern University, is an organization for thought leadership advocating the most effective way business leaders create and sustain organizational value is through partnership with people.