Hunting for your next great brand advocates? Some of the best people to advocate for your brand are right under your nose. They are the insiders—your very own employees. That’s right: brands are listened to when an employee personally hails it either in person or on social media. This isn’t about one of your sales managers “selling” their product to their friends and family on Facebook…this is about the authenticity of employees shouting the praises of their company because if they care, they share.
Nurturing a work environment that has people caring about the business of your company creates an inspired individual. Perhaps there didn’t need to be year-long focus groups trying to determine what now seems obvious: people share things that they personally care about. If they are inspired, chances are they will want to spread that love around. So what inspires employees? A work environment that has their employees top-of-mind, that’s what.
A 2012 Gallup Poll studied employees in work environments in 142 countries around the world. They discovered that only 13% of employees were actually engaged in their job. The really bad news? Few of the companies these employees worked for bothered to even consider their employee base as assets to their brand. Simply put: ignoring the benefits of employee brand loyalty is a huge lost opportunity.
The good news is as business owners and corporate leaders you have the power to actually engage employees and produce brand ambassadors.
Remember the four I’s to creating an employee brand ambassador.
Show employees what they are capable of achieving. Inspiring employees means influencing or better, impelling a team to reach for new goals, which is a powerful tool of engagement. Often employees get in a rut, doing the same thing over and over and never feeling impelled to do anything other than what they’re already doing. Why would they be moved to change if they don’t have a deep connection with their company’s brand? This is where we got the notion of a hamster wheel. Moving, moving, moving but never ever forward. Avoid the monotony of the hamster wheel work experience and make plain the possibilities achievable by your team. The goals you set out to achieve need to be shared with employees. This tangible future inspires employees to work towards something bigger. The result? Engaged employees clear about the future of the brand start behaving in ways that align with company goals.
One of the easiest and often overlooked moments to engage employees with the brand of a business is during on-boarding. A new position is exciting, the opportunities seem expansive and there is energy in that first season of new employment. Capture that new-employee-energy with clear brand strategy. This is one of the easiest ways to establish leadership in employee engagement. It can look like sharing your company history in a compelling way or presenting how different employees brought success to the business. Integrating your brand into on-boarding efforts sets the tone for the long-term engagement you want in your employees.
Build a brand-centric focus on your social media efforts. Since more and more of the workforce are digital natives it is critical to converse with them in the atmospheres where they feel comfortable—social and digital media. Note that social media is not reserved only for Facebook and Twitter. Social media encompasses email newsletters, blogs, company internal messaging and mobile communications. Infuse your internal communications with dynamic digital experiences to build up a force of engaged employees who care enough to share.
Healthy competition is good for groups and teams. Measuring improvements and milestones helps keep employees engaged and attentive to their work. Rewarding powerful sales or growing leadership roles shows employees that not only are their achievements valued, but they are valuable. At Docherty Incentives and Meetings we help companies create and secure brand ambassadors with our smart, timely, and relevant rewards and incentives.
You don’t have to look far to find your biggest brand loyalists—they’re the ones working to forward your business. Engage your employees with inspiring goals, integrated brand story, brand-infused communications and awesome incentives. Then watch your bottom line improve.