January 28, 2015

How To Turn Employees Into Brand Ambassadors

turn employees into brand ambassadors

Brand ambassadors are the key to a strong company brand. Imagine having hundreds of employees actively promoting and advertising your company for you.

Think about the power of a strong brand.

Why is it that we pay thousands for an Apple computer when another brand of laptop costs a few hundred?

Having a strong brand comes from having a strong culture, where employees are passionate about making your company the best.

Most companies make the mistake of putting all of their effort into their marketing campaigns, when the real secret is to put effort into your employees.

Having engaged employees will make sure that your company is able to become strong. According to research from Gallup, engaged employees are more productive, create better customer experiences, and are more likely to remain with their employers.

You need to understand what truly motivates an employee in order to get them passionate about what they do.

Employees are motivated by personal growth, they want to feel like the company genuinely cares about them and their development, and they want to feel included.

These are all very easy things to do, and if you follow these steps, you can turn your employees into brand ambassadors.

Your company should be conducting employee pulse surveys to figure out what makes an employee a brand ambassador, and also what could be improved to make employees more likely to be ambassadors.

Ask a question like:

What’s the thing that you like most about {company}?

And then you can ask questions to show that you’re interested in helping them grow.

What’s one thing {company} could do to help you grow as a person?

Let Employees Be Themselves

This is the real secret to employee engagement, and I’ve spoken about this before. The example I gave was how at Zappos, there is psychology behind why they encourage everyone to decorate their desks with funky and quirky stuff.

One of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s favorite interview questions is “On a scale from 1-10, how weird are you?” to encourage employees to be unique, and to remind candidates that they embrace that attitude.

It’s called Authentic Self-expression. Basically, what it means is that when people start to not behave like themselves they start to question themselves and they become disengaged.

Because they start to wonder if they themselves are any good.

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Start With Why

I’ve talked about this many times, but in order to have employees be brand ambassadors, they need to know what the brand is all about.

Leaders need to explain the vision behind what they’re doing. Keep reminding employees of the bigger purpose of the company, and you’ll start to see employees connect with that vision.

Have employees understand your brand’s DNA. Here’s a CultureTalk with Taylor Alderedge from Grasshopper discussing this:

Gallup asked more than 3,000 randomly selected workers to assess their agreement with the statement “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand different from our competitors.” Only 41% of employees strongly agreed with this statement.

What this means, is that companies need to be doing a better job at communicating why their brand is the best.

Encourage Employees To Be Active On Social Media

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in CEOs has been declining, but trust in company employees has grown.

Your employees are on social media anyways, so as a company you have two choices. You can either discourage them from being on social media (at which point they’ll probably sneak it on their smartphones) or you can encourage them to make your brand more human.

I’d personally go with the second one. Tell employees that they should be active on social media, representing your brand, interacting with customers and potential candidates.

You’ll be theoretically increasing your customer service, sales, and recruitment teams exponentially by letting employees play a role.

Let’s look at two companies who really get social media right: Adobe and Nokia.

1. Adobe

  • Social media influences 20% of subscriptions to Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • A greater percentage of Adobe employees are sharing content about Adobe on Twitter than any other tech brand in the world.
  • As of mid-2014, approximately one-third of Adobe’s 11,000 employees have taken Social Shift training to be brand ambassadors.
  • In some months, one Photoshop brand ambassador has generated more revenue than the official Adobe @Photoshop Twitter account.

2. Nokia

Every Nokia employee can speak freely online across social media networks.

Nokia employees can tap into conversations online when there’s positive or negative feedback; they can use those conversations to promote new exciting things that are coming from Nokia, and this gives employees the power to go out on social networks and be real brand ambassadors.

How Do You Turn Your Employees Into Brand Ambassadors?

Share your stories with me on Twitter @JacobShriar or @Officevibe.

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