Make Employees Your Best Brand Ambassadors

By Sandy Clarke|13-06-2020 | 1 Min Read
If You Want Your Team To Be Quality Brand Ambassadors, Make It Amazing For Them!

Marketing fatigue

An increasing number of people are losing trust in marketing content designed to make a company look great. In fact, just over half of consumers see marketing material as useful when deciding on a purchase.

Customers are a savvy bunch, and businesses who realise as much are the ones that recognise the importance of putting out a message that’s as organic as it is compelling. Brands such as Starbucks, Virgin, Hulu, and Netflix derive the power of their brands by looking after their most important asset: their people.

Transforming your employees into brand ambassadors isn’t rocket science. If there’s any difficulty to be had, it usually comes down to an issue of trust.

No one understands your company more than your employees. They know what’s working well and what’s lousy; they are aware of whether the organisation is really aligned to its values or simply paying lip-service to them; and, they know whether or not they feel proud to tell people about their role and where they work.

Companies can spend millions each year on branding, usually outsourcing to PR companies that, for many organisations, can be a hit or miss venture. In the meantime, they neglect to include their own people, who are able to show and tell their organisation’s story in a more powerful and compelling way.

I was recently talking to one senior manager within a company, whose leaders had hired a social media firm to cover some events. Not only were the photos and footage average at best, it took almost two weeks to get the content ready for sharing. That’s madness! Even print newspapers work at a much greater speed. 

After discussing the situation, it was apparent to me that the company’s people could do a much better job at a fraction of the cost and with a near-immediate turnaround. Whether it’s via Insta Stories, Facebook Live, Twitter posts, YouTube videos or blogs, in this day and age, business leaders would be unwise to neglect using the power of their people to tell the story they want to share. 

Employees as brand ambassadors

Transforming your employees into brand ambassadors isn’t rocket science. If there’s any difficulty to be had, it usually comes down to an issue of trust. If you trust an (often) overpriced PR company more than your own employees to share your company’s message, that’s something that should be reflected upon before employees feel comfortable enough to share their experiences. 

Otherwise, these four steps can go a long way to making your people become the best ambassadors your business can have:

See Also: 3 Non-Negotiable Roles of a Leader

1. Make sure people know what you’re about

If your own people aren’t sure of what your organisation’s all about, or what it’s values and objectives are, how can you expect them to ‘sell’ the brand message to customers? I worked with SMEs in the UK, and when we shaped brand identity, I’d invite leaders to come up with answers to the following three questions in 100 words or less:

  • What need does your business fulfil/what problem does it work to solve?
  • What’s unique about your business? Why is it relevant?
  • How will you fulfil the needs of the people you hope to serve?

Until your business is clear on these questions, or you need half an hour to explain what it is and what it does, there is no brand. All you have is an organisation without a message for people to get behind.

2. Tie your organisation’s purpose to your people’s values

Think of football teams. Why is it that Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, and Real Madrid all swear – and truly believe – that theirs is the best team in the world? It has little to do with results and the amount of trophies won. Rather, it’s about belonging to a club whose culture resonates with the fans’ values and ideals. Even long-suffering fans will proudly tell you their love of their team. Can the same be said for your organisation?

If not, it’s wise to consider asking why the company culture isn’t resonating with your people as strongly as it should. Don’t dwell on complaining – spend some time in honest reflection, then take action.

3. Invest in your people more than you expect from them

Like any relationship, people tend to give the best of themselves when they feel important, valued, and empowered by the other party. We all know friends who will proudly talk about their partners and, when we look at why that is, it’s because their partners give so much to them – probably more than they receive.

Similarly, if you want your team to become quality brand ambassadors and talk about how amazing your company is, then…make it amazing for them.

Ask what matters most to your people, how you can help them to develop and reach their goals. A well-stocked pantry and colourful beanbags won’t cut it; at best, they’re nice add-ons within a company that puts its people first and gives them a reason to gush about what a great organisation they work for.

4. Get them on social media

I’m still not sure why – after a whole decade of being a common practice – business leaders aren’t encouraging their people to create company-related social media accounts.

I’m still not sure why – after a whole decade of being a common practice – business leaders aren’t encouraging their people to create company-related social media accounts.

Perhaps they see it as a risky venture, giving employees free rein to share their thoughts and experiences online. That said, some basic ground rules (keep in mind the word ‘basic’) can be agreed upon, and with employees sharing their experiences within the organisation online, what better way to organically spread the word on what you’re working to achieve?

Show off the people, the culture, the events, and the team days. Let your people express themselves freely and creatively, and you’ll not only have the best kind of brand ambassadors for your business, but you’ll also save a fortune from hiring ‘professionals’ who, with no understanding of your business, will more than likely paint the same generic picture that’s produced for most companies.

Read: The Power of Faith in Leadership

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Sandy is a former Leaderonomics editor and is now a freelance writer based in Malaysia, and previously enjoyed 10 years as a journalist and broadcaster in the UK. As editor of www.leaderonomics.com, he has been fortunate to gain valuable insights into what makes us tick, which has deepened his interests in leadership, emotions, mindfulness, and human behaviour.
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