With emerging new entrants to social bookmarking such as Tumblr and Pinterest, the social media landscape is rapidly evolving, while consumers are flocking to social networking sites en masse around the globe. Your employees, whether you are a B2B or B2C business, are powerful brand advocates for your company, which is why it’s so important for marketing to be at the hub of brand advocacy in the Digital Age, engaging with and mobilizing your employees to champion the core values of your brand. Below are some thoughts about brand advocacy in the Digital Age:
1. People are influenced more by people than by companies, and your employees carry your brand message and values to your customers in their daily interactions. Consider the example of Zappos.com. Although an e-tailer of shoes, Zappos has positioned itself first as a customer service business. The company is so serious about hiring employees who will become enthusiastic brand advocates that it offers new recruits $2000 to quit during the training process if they feel they aren’t up to maintaining the company’s excellent service standards. Zappos understands the integral role its employees have in their success, and that shows in their culture, employee retention, internal business processes, and revenues.
2. What your employees say about your company and products will have an effect online: If employees are informed and authentically excited about your brand, social media can be a significant opportunity to multiply positive brand impressions. Kaiser-Permanente encourages its employees to engage with their brand via social media through Facebook, Twitter and their YouTube channel, allowing their employees to post publicly visible comments to reinforce its brand. To keep its employees informed and excited about their brand, Kaiser Permanente helps employees understand how their job connects to the organization’s success and uses a mix of internal communications platforms to provide key updates and information, including a proprietary internal collaboration platform and employee ideation sessions.
3. Marketing should own brand advocacy. Consider this sound byte from Public Relations Society of America (PRSA): “It’s our job as communications leaders to counsel leadership on how to connect employees to the larger purpose of the organization, both in their verbal and written communications.” Marketing is the hub for defining core brand messaging and poised to connect the brand vision to employees at all levels of the organization, especially frontline employees. The key here is empowerment, not brand policing. Employees can be empowered to champion your brand when they are informed with key updates from your company and understand the guidelines for communicating information about your company.
Employees have always had the opportunity to influence perception of your brand through their day-to-day interactions, and that reality is magnified in the Digital Age. What employees say about your company and products will have an effect, but if you empower your employees to become your internal brand advocates by equipping them with timely and relevant information about your company, you can increase positive digital brand impressions through social media.
Strategies for engaging and mobilizing your employees to become powerful brand advocates: A Recap
- Use a Marketing Resource Management system to communicate and standardize brand messaging, guidelines and assets
- Communicate timely and relevant information about your company through a multi-channel internal communications strategy (Intranet, town hall meetings, advertising campaign previews, company newsletter)
- Help employees understand the way their job connects to the organization’s success
- Finally, if you have created a first-class culture that reinforces your core brand values, such as Zappos.com, it will be second nature for your employees to champion your brand through social media
For more actionable insights about marketing as the internal champion for Brand Advocacy, please stay tuned for next Tuesday’s blog continuing our ongoing Marketing Organizational Leadership Series and featuring the insights of Ed Burghard, CEO and Manager at The Burghard Group.
How are you empowering your employees with the key information and updates they need to become company brand advocates?