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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Who are your best brand ambassadors? They should be your employees.

Employees hold the key to your brands reputation and sales. Why? We trust their insight.

According to Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer, 41% of us believe employees to be the most credible source of information regarding a business. We’ll take word-of-mouth recommendations any day over the hoopla coming from PR departments, CEOs, and Founders.

It is surprising, then, that so few companies have tapped into the scalable, brand-building power of their employees. In person and online, people are increasingly comparing and sharing experiences. Why not build an employees-as-brand-ambassadors that actively encourage your people to create buzz and spread the word about your company through their personal networks?

Sans coaching, we are three times more likely to share bad news than good. By encouraging employees to become brand champions, we can squash brand-tarnishing chatter with authentic, adept, and expressive messages. Here are a few other major benefits that can result from supporting employees as brand ambassadors:

Benefits of an Employee-as-Brand-Ambassador Program

  • Better connected company - The more responsibility, recognition and training that companies provide employees for engaging with stakeholders, the more connected and adaptive the company becomes.
  • Personified brand - Employees openly discussing your brand online can have a humanizing effect. This ultimately boosts consumer perception. Increased employee loyalty - When employees publicly declare support/affiliation for their company, it heightens their own faith and allegiance.  
  • Amplified brand awareness - Emotions and behaviors are contagious to the third degree. When employees voice their feelings and opinions online, it not only influences the views of their direct network but also spreads as far as two more interactions away from them. The multiplier effect is dramatic.

  • More meaning in work - Empowering employees to act as brand advocates boosts their happiness and performance levels. As a result, this speeds company growth and makes the company more productive and more profitable.  

  • Improved talent retention - Enabling employees to learn, connect, and shine is an enticing reason for them to stay. With employee-as-brand-ambassador programs in place, top talent is less likely to jump ship and join your competition.

Before launching a program, it is important to collect company-wide feedback about your brand reputation. Listen to your employees. Address issues and make changes so that employees will feel proud as brand champions. It may not be an easy feat, but creating a formal program will result in a happier work force. Next thing you know, the ripple effect will set in and the result will be game changing.  

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