Are Your Employees Brand Ambassadors?

When it comes to cultivating advocates for your brand, who’s better placed to assume this important role than your dedicated workforce? Your employees often work directly with your target audience and their enthusiasm for your business speaks volumes to suppliers, customers, prospects and prospective employees who they encounter.

We are constantly looking for ways to improve our efforts to help our employees be brand ambassadors. Over the years we have found a few things that seem to work for us. If this is an area of focus for your organization perhaps you will find them helpful.

Brand AmbassadorFoster an open, supportive culture. You can’t expect employees to promote your brand if they don’t feel engaged and supported by your corporate culture. As we’ve noted elsewhere, “Your employees are key stakeholders in the business.” To be genuinely transparent, look for opportunities to divulge more information about both your company’s achievements, setbacks and strategic objectives.

Make sure employees understand what your brand stands for. Don’t assume everyone in the organization is an expert on your brand. An essential step in building brand ambassadors is to “identify confusing parts of the brand by asking employees to describe the company,” writes workplace expert Heather R. Huhman. “By comparing and contrasting the difference between the actual brand description and employees’ perceptions, employers can clarify and better define the brand before employees become active advocates.”

Offer content employees can share on social media. Nowhere is brand advocacy more important these days than on your social media platforms. You can give employees free rein to tweet about the company and/or post Facebook updates, but a more proactive approach involves offering them valuable content they can promote themselves (thus, making the process easier for them). Invite them to link to or tweet about your latest company blog post or articles published about your company in the media—any content you deem appropriate and beneficial to the brand. We have had success with this specifically when promoting things like interesting careers in the hardwood lumber industry, the introduction of new lumber products or the celebration of unique employee accomplishments.

Reward employees for their efforts. It takes time and effort to be a bona fide brand ambassador. To keep employees motivated, look for ways to reward them for their contributions to the cause. Publicize their successful efforts in your company newsletter, on your website, in public meetings, etc. People like to be recognized as brand advocates, and such recognition encourages others to participate as well.

We know we need brand ambassadors in all aspects of our company. Whether it be our foresters dealing with land owners, sawmill managers building relationships in their local community or lumber traders managing their territories the more successful we are in developing brand ambassadors the more successful we will be in reaching our strategic objectives.

What other best practices do you have for developing your brand ambassadors?

Tony Cimorelli
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