When it comes to promoting or managing your brand, your most important asset is your employees. It doesn’t matter if you are a B2C or a B2B company, we are all in a B2P world — business to people. It’s your people who interact with every customer, prospect, donor, recruit, or media person. There are few other channels you have that can achieve the reach and personal touch of your employees.
Fundamental to marketing is knowing your audience, crafting the right message and delivering it through the best medium. Cutting through the clutter is increasingly difficult, and your target audience is becoming increasingly wary of interacting with brands that are not authentic. Applying your brand so your employees understand it and deliver on its promise alleviates both challenges and is your secret weapon to elevate your brand and build more loyalty. But how? Here are three things to begin with.
Make sure every employee understands your brand.
They should be clear about your mission, vision and values. Every employee will know how to make the “right” decision when they are guided by your values. They shouldn’t have to go to an employee handbook or run to their manager every time a new situation arises to know what to do. Living your brand through your values is the foundation of your culture. If your values are just lofty words that no one pays attention to, it’s time to revisit them and work with your employees on how to bring them to life.
Give your employees the tools to be great brand ambassadors.
One of the best ways to start is through social media. The combined reach of your employees’ social media presence probably surpasses that of your company’s social media channels, so leverage that.
Begin with developing a social media policy. Provide them with information on how to properly represent your company when they decide to do so through their social media platforms. Give them examples of what is appropriate and what is not, and where to go if they have questions.
If you are not comfortable enough to open this up for all your employees, then select a group as your dedicated social media brand ambassadors. Make sure they come from a wide variety of areas within your organization and represent a diversity of positions and tenure. Customers love to hear employee stories and see what goes on behind the scenes, and it adds an incredible amount of authenticity that no amount of advertising is going to get you.
Encourage employees to find ways to bring your brand to life.
Although your brand platform doesn’t change often, how it is expressed and activated can constantly evolve. Your employees will have the best ideas on how to do that, ranging from potential new products to how to provide better customer service or how to improve the recruiting process. As an added benefit, it’s also a way to increase employee engagement because it demonstrates that the company genuinely values employees’ opinions and contributions.
It doesn’t matter what type or what size organization you have; your brand is one of your most important assets, and your employees are your secret weapon. By empowering them, they can elevate and promote your brand. We know this from experience. Telling our stories and being present on social media have been keys to our growth over the years, and it’s as good as time as any to help make it one of yours, as well. ●
Dean Ilijasic is co-founder of Long & Short of It