31
Mar

5 Steps to Creating Employee Brand Ambassadors

Posted by: ShannonRiggs in: Media Relations -

Today’s marketing mix offers an exciting array of high-tech tools and channels, yet when it comes to developing brand ambassadors, organizations often overlook their closest and most accessible resource: employees. With their firsthand experience of a brand, its history and what makes it tick, employees are in a unique position to help build a brand and its visibility. And because employees are immersed in the day-to-day activity, their impressions are generally perceived as more authentic and credible than those of any outsider or corporate-generated message.

Creating a brand ambassador program doesn’t need to be complicated, and investing in the effort can pay off in spades. To develop – or refine – a brand ambassador program, consider following these five steps:

 

  1. INSPIRE: Start by helping employees understand the broader vision and mission of the organization as well as how their individual roles are integral to the whole. Take regular short pulse surveys to assess the mood and the mindset of staff. To increase your response rate, keep the surveys brief and ask your questions in a conversational tone: Are you happy with your job? What is your favorite part of your job? What one thing would you like to improve? Depending on the responses, it may be necessary to put a brand ambassador program on hold to address concerns, improve morale and strengthen culture. Or, it may be fine to forge ahead and work with a core group of highly engaged employees to get the ball rolling.
  2. EQUIP: Give employees the tools and resources they need to be successful. Develop a written and accessible guide that outlines the do’s and don’ts of representing a brand online. Ensure that the parameters are clear so that employees understand expectations. In addition, arm employees with talking points and a quick “elevator” pitch – a short speech that gets to the heart of what a brand does and represents. Work with them to develop the right words: words with which they identify and that come naturally.
  3. EMPOWER: Provide employees with opportunities to voice their opinions in a constructive manner. Regular surveys, intranet blog posts with comments, town hall meetings and office hours are just a few ways to get two-way communication flowing. Pay attention to what employees are saying and make appropriate changes to validate their concerns. In the social media sphere, keep tabs on conversations but maintain some distance so that employees feel free to express their thoughts.
  4. FEED: Give employees something to talk about. Send updates every week or two to call out creative and fun campaigns, significant milestones, awards and wins, community involvement, and other notable news and developments. Regular, positive updates can help build enthusiasm and pride among staff. With updates, insert shareable links, hashtags and even memes that make it quick and easy not only to post on social media but also to stay on message.
  5. REWARD: When employees are inspired and enthusiastic about their jobs and their companies, being a brand ambassador will come more naturally. Nonetheless, it’s important to acknowledge the impact of these individuals and their efforts, easy or not. Be sure to recognize positive examples and relay the impacts on the larger organization, such as how a social media post may have inspired sales or increased brand awareness, or how a simple conversation with an employee turned an annoyed customer into a loyal customer.

Whether online or in person, employees can be a tremendous marketing resource. As you look ahead to your next big initiative or work to foster engagement around existing programs, take a moment to explore opportunities to cultivate and encourage positive brand conversations among your staff. You may just be surprised by how powerful an engaged team of employee brand advocates can be.

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