This research project started off with the exploration of the role of integrity in branding. Fascinated by the international success achieved by Aesop, an Australian company supplying premium cosmetics created from the finest botanical oils, the author decided to discover the value of trust and loyalty within the luxury skincare industry. Aesop’s unique brand image suggested that a company that values honesty, sells non-gendered products made of transparent ingredients and applies art and creativity in their branding could only be successful — proven by the constantly growing numbers of satisfied and loyal customers all over the world.
Throughout the research journey, the author encountered many obstacles and barriers, especially when trying to gather information from the representatives of Aesop in the UK market. The hindrances led to an unexpected discovery within the internal company culture that provided the most important insights of this paper.
The new direction contributed significantly to a new approach, i.e. the role of solidarity and humanity in branding and focusing on the improvement of the employee experience. Although the key elements of the work remained the same since the start of the project: trust and loyalty, applying them in an employer branding context and focusing on staff-fulfilment contributed to the enhancement and specification of the results.
The process included reviewing the literature, online research, in-depth customer and employee interviews as well as the discussion of different theories, such as Aaker’s Behaviourist (1991) and Schein’s Culture (1985) Models. Throughout the development of the project, the Client Engagement Model (2017) proved to be the most relevant and applicable to the employee experience. The outcomes include a 3-D Employee Engagement Model and Strategy, a formula, templates and the description of a hypothetical case illustrating the author’s ideas in use. The audience of this study are those brand and HR managers who might use the presented methods to create trust within the workplace with the aim of improving employee loyalty and retention and therefore increasing productivity.
Key Terms: Luxury Branding, Communication, Brand Equity, Integrity, Creativity, Customer Loyalty, Value of Trust, Employer Branding, Organisational Behaviour, Psychology at Work, Work Satisfaction, Continuous Professional Development (CPD), Employee Loyalty, Fulfilment, Productivity.