Following is a guest post from our friends over at Long & Short of It, masters of ideation, customer insights and market research. They like to say they “dig and find lots of data and then turn it into actionable insights.” Following is their guest post.
Your Employees Are Your Best Secret Weapon
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 as your employees.
Fundamental to marketing is knowing your audience, crafting the right message, and delivering it through the best medium. We all know that cutting through the clutter is increasingly difficult. Additionally, your target audience is also becoming increasingly wary of interacting with brands that are not authentic. Applying your brand so your employees understand it and deliver on its promise, not only alleviates both challenges, but is also your secret weapon to elevate your brand and build more loyalty. But how? Here are three things to begin with:
1. Make sure every employee understands your brand. They should be clear about your mission, vision, and values. Any 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 any attention to, then it’s time to revisit them and work with your employees on how to bring them to life.
2. 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 employee’s social media presence probably surpasses that of your company social media channels; 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 various 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 also adds an incredible amount of authenticity that no amount of advertising is going to get you.
3. Encourage employees to find ways to bring your brand to life. Although your brand platform is not something that changes often, how its expressed and activated can constantly evolve. Your employees will have the best ideas on how to do that. It can range 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 has been a key to our growth over the years – it’s a good as time as any to help make it one of yours as well.