On the back of a brilliant 12 months in 2022, and as a definite sign…
Transforming employees into brand influencers - employee ambassador strategy
Work. It’s a major part of the conversations your employees have with friends and family every day: in person, in WhatsApp groups, on social media. And every one of those thousands of quick (and long!) conversations has an impact on your brand.
Because the people on the other end of those discussions are all potential customers, employees, investors and brand advocates. The employee brand experience your people receive creates a ripple effect that goes way beyond the individual – turning each of them into high-impact influencers. As Lauren Weatherly said in Forbes, “All of the paid advertising in the world cannot top word of mouth from a trusted source.” And we know employees are a very trusted source of information and credibility today.
Historically, “brand” as a concept hasn’t been leveraged when it comes to employee experiences and comms. But in today’s post-Covid world, employees have consumer-grade expectations – and they’re not afraid to discuss them. Companies who don’t have an employee experience strategy that’s fully aligned to their brand risk losing out.
So, how do you support your employees to become positive brand ambassadors? Simply. By bringing your brand to life internally. Here are six ways to create that shift:
Create leadership buy-in
It’s easy for CMOs, and the rest of the C-suite, to forget about the conversations your people are having outside work. But employees are one of your most influential groups of brand ambassadors. If you have 80,000 colleagues, that’s a potential 80,000 influencers. Here are some big stats that make the business case very clear.
- 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, and 50% post about their company. (Weber Shandwick)
- Brand messages reach 561% further when shared by employees vs official brand social channels. (MSLGroup)
- 53% of global consumers see employees as the most credible sources for learning about companies. (Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer)
- In the Citrix “Work 2035” report, 74% of executives predict ROI from better EX.
Bring your brand to life: You can show your people that your brand is authentic, credible and solid by visibly aligning your EX, CX and UX. What does an expression of the brand look like for your own people? Discuss and co-create this.
Now more than ever, employees expect to work for a brand that reflects their own values. They want to use their work each week to achieve something meaningful. So it’s little wonder that Deloitte research found that purpose-driven companies not only receive higher market share and grow three times faster than their competitors, but their customers and employees are more satisfied too. Charlotte Rogers in Marketing Week says, “Any true measurement of the social impact of a purpose campaign should start by analysing the impact on your employees.”
Bring your brand to life: Create meaning by having a clear purpose, and ensuring the brand promise you make to customers is mirrored in your employee experience strategy. Strategist, Carol Wain, says: “Your customer experience will only be great if your employee experience is greater.”
Employees should be crystal clear on your brand story and what ‘living the brand’ feels like. When somebody asks them “What’s it like working at your company?” you want them to be able to describe what your business is aiming for, where you are on the journey, and the part they play.
Bring your brand to life: Your people won’t be as positive about your company if they feel like they’re the last to know. Keep them up to date with all the latest brand developments: news, new products, strategic milestones etc. Strong comms channels are key.
Are your people excited about what the business is achieving, their contribution and the future? Do they hit ‘like’ or tell their friends about them? Mastercard’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar says, “Unless they [your employees] are inspired by your campaigns, how could you expect consumers not working at the company to be inspired?”
Bring your brand to life: Launch new products and campaigns internally first, using it as an opportunity to bring people together, share the story and build advocacy.
Create conversation-worthy employee experiences
When you see a friend on a Friday night and they ask, “How’s your week been?” it’s really the employee experience they’re asking about. So your employer branding needs to show up for your employees all the way from hire to retire.
Bring your brand to life: Big milestones, life events, learning experiences, feedback, social events…intentionally curate the best employee experience. Crucially, this should mirror the brand experience that customers receive to provide that essential through-line.
Involving colleagues in business decisions is an incredibly powerful way to build your culture in an authentic way. Your people can give powerful insight into how your brand should evolve, as well as the next steps for your HR, marketing, ops and every other team in the business.
Do this: Create listening frameworks to make sure everyone’s voice can be heard. Your employee experience strategy should encompass everything from 1-1s and quick catch-ups to wider engagement committees and focus groups. Pair this up with regular “You Said, We Did” schemes, to let your employees know you’re serious about action.
Ready to bring your brand to life?
At McCann Synergy, we’re here to bring your brand to life internally, so that when your colleagues discuss work with friends and family, it’s for all the right reasons.
From carrying out research and creating overarching strategies to mapping the employee experience, tailoring brand stories for colleagues and activating plans – we’ve got it covered. And now, we’ve made it easier than ever to choose the right McCann Synergy services for your business, by offering our tiered solution, ‘Living the Brand Internally’.
For more information, contact
Head of Growth