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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

For Effective Brand Ambassadors, How About Employees?

Companies invest heavily in creating "brand ambassadors" out of a handful of loyal customers who can generate buzz and sales because of their singular devotion to a brand.

But brands could be even more effective if they would cultivate their own employees as brand ambassadors to spread positive word of mouth about their products and services. And yet relatively few enterprises are executing a strategy for doing this.

"A company's brand reputation, whether employer or corporate, is a direct reflection of the culture and values of a company," notes Mike Schroeder, CEO of TNS Employee Insights, which recently conducted a joint study with LinkedIn of nearly 11,000 employees about such topics. "The best way to increase awareness is through your employees."

We couldn't agree more. More companies are understanding the need for employee engagement in general, and reaping the benefits of engendering the enthusiasm, loyalty and resulting greater effectiveness of their staffs -- at least internally.

But leaders have been relatively slow to tap into the potential of proactively turning employee enthusiasm outward. Sometimes, this neglect can be as basic as helping employees to understand their brand and the importance of it.

Asked about their previous employment in a TNS-Linked In study, fewer than half of employees understood the behaviors that were required of them by the promise of the brand they represented.

TNS recommends five top drivers of employee brand ambassadorship:

  • The company brand experience sets us apart.
  • I trust senior leadership.
  • Work gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
  • The company is environmentally responsible.
  • I feel valued as an employee.
We might add a few more drivers to this list, such as an active employee-engagement program.

But you get the idea: Engaged, enthusiastic employees can be the best way for brands to create more engaged, enthusiastic customers.

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