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Super Bowl Ads Are Great, but an Engagement Focus Gets You to the End(ear) Zone

February 15, 2022 - minute read

By James Tehrani

Say you had, oh, I don’t know, $6.5 million burning a hole in your pocket and you wanted to buy a Super Bowl ad. What would you focus on?

Eminem image courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsAs Eminem queried (pictured, left; credit Wikimedia Commons) during the star-studded Super Bowl LVI halftime show as part of the intro to his hit Lose Yourself, “If you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it?”

Would you write a tongue-in-cheek love story borne out of having a potato chip container stuck on someone’s hand as Pringles did? Or would you write a touching story with nondiegetic music from Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart of a robo-dog chasing an electric vehicle only to almost meet its doom after an ill-advised leap of faith while running out of battery juice as Kia did? Maybe you’d even open up your wallet even more and get Mike Myers to reprise his role as Dr. Evil and bring on his “evil” castmates from the Austin Powers films as well as General Motor did? 

Beyond the Ads: Engagement

Now we’ll rephrase the question and ask it this way: What if there were a way to promote your brand in a positive way at a fraction of the cost of a Super Bowl ad?

Well, there is: It’s called employee engagement.

A Forbes article from a few years ago explained that companies with engaged employees outperformed those with disengaged workers by a staggering 202%. Additionally, a recent Harvard Business Review article explained that disengagement costs U.S. companies half a trillion dollars ($500 billion) each year. For perspective, the global beer market–and we’re guessing the Super Bowl has a nice impact here–generated about $623 billion in 2020.

When companies focus on company culture, it can pay almost immediate dividends. According to Built In, 46% of job seekers cite company culture as a reason why they choose an organization. Similarly, 47% of active job seekers say culture is the driving force behind why they are looking for new work in the first place. 

While many industries are suffering from rampant turnover, workplace culture is a key differentiator. Johnny C. Taylor, president of SHRM, addressed this in a blog post last year calling the situation a “turnover tsunami” where 30% annual turnover might be the new norm. 

Getting your employees to love your organization is a must and goes beyond just offering free snacks in the breakroom. With social platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and others readily available, employees that have soured on an organization are more likely to voice their disapproval to the world, which could hurt recruiting, retention and even sales. A good company culture starts with the onboarding process and includes training, recognition and, yes, empowerment and safety, too. It also means providing employees the tools they need to be successful.

Paul Greenberg, a ZDNet contributor, wrote in a blog post: “When employees feel connected to the mission of an organization, they make better decisions. They feel empowered to use their creativity and are determined to understand their target customer. Why is that? Employees who feel engaged also feel their work is valued and means something, it gives them a higher sense of purpose.”

Look, the buzz a company can get from a Super Bowl ad is great; there’s no question about it. But creating a company culture that is super, well, that’s a bold play that promises to get you into the end(ear) zone every time.

James Tehrani is EPAY Systems’ digital content marketing manager. He is an award-winning writer and editor based in the Chicago area.


Filed Under: Human Capital Management Workforce Management Performance Management