Unlocking the emotional code for work in order to redefine the brand experience

Recognizing shifts in trends within the HR category, ADP’s TotalSource brand – a national provider of large-corporation benefits to small businesses – set out to elevate the employee experience in order to deliver a differentiated brand experience. Specifically, they partnered with Brandtrust to unlock the emotional code for worksite employees and employers, with emphasis on their benefits experience. With this insight, they anticipated creating branded products and services that better served the founders and employers of their small business clients, and ultimately differentiating ADP in a crowded market.


Appreciative Inquiry with ADP associates and Emotional Inquiry research with clients revealed a cyclical workplace journey marked by identity transformation, validation, purpose, and connection. Further, elevated workplace experiences – marked by protection, provision, and partnership – foster employee loyalty.


Anchored in emergent insights, Brandtrust led ADP in developing a Customer Experience Blueprint that serves as the framework to drive product, service, and cultural changes that elevate the employee experience. This blueprint is rooted in 4 core platforms for the employee experience, all aligned to a universal human need. Further, out of each platform, existing touchpoints were reimagined and new concepts for driving differentiation were developed.


Research insights and the resulting Customer Experience Blueprint revolutionized ADP’s TotalSource business. Immediately, they saw the following results: a 66% increase in sales close rate using the Blueprint in a multi-market micro-test; the launch of a new $75M P&L; and, a 15% lift in tNPS scores in the digital experience. Internally, emergent insights informed the development of an Employee Experience Blueprint that is the compass for all work, including TotalSource sales strategy. And externally, product and service innovations have strengthened client employee loyalty, ultimately challenging the slow-to-change benefits category.