Every business should strive to establish a strong brand. Why? For many, a stronger brand can fetch premium prices. For example, consider the number of consumers willing to shell out the extra dough for a pair of Prada sunglasses when plenty of similarly designed options with the same functionalities are available for a fraction of the price. A strong brand can even carry a company through tough economic times, gain the upper-hand in business negotiations, recruit top-notch talent, and much more. The benefits of a strong brand are immense and, most importantly, they all contribute to your bottom line.
While many business leaders already understand this, they still adhere to the conventional practice of entrusting all brand-building efforts to the marketing department, not realizing one of their most powerful branding assets is right in front of them: employees.
According to the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, “Employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO, or Founder. 41% of us believe that employees are the most credible source of information regarding their business.” Every employee, regardless of role or duties, has the potential to leverage this trust in your company’s favor. So how do you mobilize employees?
You need to turn your team into brand ambassadors – employees who are connected, motivated, and engaged. According to Gallup, “companies with high employee engagement levels have 3.9 times the earnings per share when compared to those in the same industry with lower engagement levels.” Now, the question is: how can your business be part of the former?
3 WAYS TO GET EMPLOYEES TO MARKET YOUR BRAND
1. CREATE A REWARDING ENVIRONMENT
Employees recognize accomplishments that get rewarded. However, when those rewards are limited to just the sales team (as is tradition), you miss out on a big opportunity to build brand ambassadors. Recognizing all employees who go the extra mile instills pride and accountability within every member of your team.
Additionally, these rewards don’t always have to be monetary. Part of creating a successful reward program is developing an environment in which your employees feel motivated and supported. Open channels for communication that allow individuals to connect with each other, share opinions, celebrate successes and milestones, and feel part of a close community. Instead of feeling like they simply work for someone, connected employees are likely to be more proactive i.e. become brand ambassadors.
2. ENCOURAGE SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY
While a strong social presence may be important for your business, don’t underestimate the power of your employees. A study conducted by the MSLGROUP found that social media posts from employees reached 561% further than the same posts shared by company pages. This can have big implications for brands that empower social media advocacy among employees.
3. EXEMPLIFY EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP
Because brand ambassadors essentially put their reputation on the line when they recommend a brand or product to their network, it’s unlikely the majority of your employees will market your brand until they feel confident and empowered – both of which can only occur through education. However, instead of sitting employees down with reading material, lead by example.
Beyond worrying about profitability, good leaders possess excellent communication skills and practice transparent policies. When employees have a clear idea of how the company's leaders respond to conflict and adversity, they will have natural guidelines to follow.
In 2015, The Harris Poll found that open communication encourages employees to see a brighter future for the company. And when your team is encouraged by the company’s positive outlook, their confidence grows.
However, this will not happen in a single day. It happens over time with multiple channels of communication such as newsletters, emails, 1-on-1’s, Cookies & Communication (a GearLaunch practice), and more. Do your part to ensure employees have the latest on company initiatives, successes, goals, and news. This information not only ensures they accurately represent the brand no matter where they may be, but also reminds them of the bigger community they belong to.
Bonus: Employee Appreciation Day is approaching (March 3). While we encourage you to appreciate employees everyday, why not turn this into an extra special weeklong celebration? Use this opportunity to try out our tips to get employees to market your brand.