What can employees do as brand advocates?

Marketing professionals have long understood the importance of promoting their brand to external stakeholders. Ironically, as they implement marketing strategies, they frequently forget their most valuable internal connections: employees.

An article in Fast Company Design explains that employees are your brand — the creators and producers of the products or services you offer to the world. They are engaged and care about your company’s success. They understand your organization and can speak about you in an approachable and honest way. An article in the human resources publication, Talent Minded details the impact of employees who are also enthusiastic brand advocates as an incredible advantage against your competition.

Your employees are typically trusted advisors in your company. You entrust them with your products, your resources, in addition to your other employees and much of the future of your company. Who better to help you promote your product? 

A plethora of valuable information is trapped within an organization, often without the knowledge of its leaders. The first place to start your brand advocacy program is internally. Starting internally gives you the advantage of gaining the support of your key promoters, before you take the message outward. 

Empowering employees to be your brand advocates will help them to reach their potential with their talents. Similarly, their promotion of your company will help further your mission, connect with consumers and attract potential employees.  

The brand promise that your organization makes to consumers is not only fulfilled by your delivery of quality products or services, but by your employees, who represent the brand with every move they make.Your company can buy mass advertising proclaiming its customer-friendly nature, but nothing proves it like a helpful and friendly customer service rep or receptionist.

 

Your employees now have the ease of communicating by social networks, enabling them to broadcast your brand far and wide. Social media helps employees to effectively communicate with others in the organization, exchange ideas, and remove feelings of isolation among remote employees. Giving your employees an advance look at an upcoming marketing campaign helps build enthusiasm for the brand that will be transmitted externally.  

When employees acting as brand advocates explain on Twitter or Facebook that they feel proud to work your company, their enthusiasm reinforces your brand. Your employees can also choose to write for your company’s blogs, covering topics like new innovations in your product or company culture, all in their words. 

Employees can't be effective representatives if they don't understand your company. In order to encourage social media posts, your brand’s resources should be easily accessible to employees, including information on corporate heritage and brand guidelines. Some cutting-edge companies have even developed self-paced online lessons teaching communication guidelines. 

So, how to encourage employees to act as brand advocate? A brand is only as strong as its promoters, so it's important to respect your messenger. Communicating company information to employees—good or bad—before the general public receives it helps foster mutual esteem and gives employees a feeling of empowerment. Consider hosting forums regularly in order to discover employees' understanding of your company’s brand. The best way to learn how to communicate with your employees is simply to ask.