Marketing your business nowadays is focused on the integration of print and digital marketing strategies. Countless time and effort, and of course, monetary investment have been poured into innovative branding strategies and for a good reason. Marketing has a great impact on the success or failure of a brand. However, we marketers may be missing one of the most crucial but readily available marketing resources—employees.
Why Employees Should Be Your Marketing Ambassadors
Employees should be your marketing ambassadors for a simple reason. They are in the forefront of your company’s relationship with your consumers. Of course, we all know that building a relationship and creating an excellent customer experience is one of the best ways to forge customer loyalty.
Picture yourself as a client. You walk up to a retail store, say a clothes shop. A store employee aided you in choosing clothes. But not only that, they went above and beyond in recommending clothes that would suit you, asking about your preferences for fashion and suggesting apparel that would fit. How do you feel about your customer experience? If it was me, I would take note of that experience as a reference for the future.
Now, if you reverse that experience, it would probably be the opposite. Rude employees and abysmal customer service? That company just lost one customer. And with the exponential growth of word of mouth on the internet, that one customer would mean hundreds.
Speaking of social, it’s not only during work hours that employees can be your brand ambassadors. Like it or not, their actions on social media or even offline can be a reflection on you as a company. That’s why it is important that, as a business owner, you tap into an employee marketing and transform them into your marketing frontliners.
Here are some ways you can turn your employees into marketing ambassadors.
1. Educate your employees on what the brand stands for.
Probably the cardinal sin of employee relations is the disconnect between their perception of the company and your own. Do your employees know what the company stands for and what your goal is? What about your brand’s competitive edge and differentiation against competitors? Do they know your target market? Sadly, not every employee knows your corporate identity.
A study by research company Gallup, interviewed 3,000 employees on how much they agreed “with the statement ‘I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand(s) different from our competitors.’ Surprisingly, only 41% of employees strongly agreed with this statement, while 24% either disagreed or were equivocal.” In the same study, Gallup found out that this lack of brand alignment is particularly acute among non-executive and non-managerial employees.
As mentioned, your employees are the front line of your brand for your customers. If they can’t represent your company properly, then it’s more likely that your customers would have a wrong perception about you. The simplest solution is to educate your employees early on. Audit your internal communications and ensure that they are aligned with your brand identity. If possible, invest in making your employees aware of your brand identity through annual seminars and new employee orientations.
2. Show them the company’s big picture goals.
Transparency is the key in building the trust of your employees. Thus, it’s not advisable to keep secrets from your employees. After all, your rank-and-file employees can affect your bottom line. Tell your employees everything they need to know about your business.
For instance, you should share the financial information of the business to know which is profitable and which needs more attention. If you have internal studies, share some of your takeaways and statistics so they know what aspects they could improve on. If you are launching a marketing campaign or releasing a new product, tell them the campaign goals and what they can do to help.
3. Accept feedback from them.
You may be surprised at the amount of insight you can get from your employees. Their level of interaction with your customers is probably more than yours. They may have some ideas or opinions that can be vital in your relationship-building efforts.
Schedule a regular meeting just to talk about their feedback. Use this opportunity to align your plans for your business and get their feedback.
4. Encourage them to go above and beyond.
Incentivize your employees for going the extra mile in providing a great customer experience. Monetary compensation such as sales commission is usually the way to go. However, there are other ways that you can reward your employees.
Develop a recognition program that honors employees. Regular “Employee of the Month” type of thing can work wonders in motivating your employees. What works best though is the regular, spontaneous praise. For a lot of employees, receiving a sincere appreciation of their work can be a very fulfilling feeling, especially if it was given in a timely fashion. Furthermore, always tell them what they did that deserved recognition. This is important if you want to reinforce the behavior.
Are your employees your marketing ambassadors? Tell us about your employee relationship in the comments below.