Technology is neither the story nor the secret sauce behind the highest performing brands. The story lies in their people, employees who dream, champion, live, socialize, and deliver the brand to customers. They drive the brand’s real value.

Smart brands today are adept at leveraging technology, the Internet, and an array of social media tools to build and enhance their customer relationships, and hence their business. Still, Cheryl and Mark Burgess would agree that the most valuable brands are the ones that tap into and answer the deep emotional needs of both their customers and their employees. These needs are not modern or complex; they are time-honored—really timeless—and simple: employees need to believe in and own a stake in their ...

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