Written by: Jessica Fender
In today’s fast-paced world, the global marketing environment has become cutthroat more than ever, with competition existing even in the lowest of levels. Marketers concentrate on one element specifically for promoting the company name, which is a “brand”. In layman’s terms, a brand is almost like a trigger or a unique identity that consumers can relate to and instantly recognize a particular company.
A brand revolves around a company’s marketing, packaging, advertising and in some cases, even the product itself. However, marketing a brand is a totally different matter. Globally marketers spend more than 600 billion dollars on various marketing efforts to establish a brand. Not many realize though, that a brand is also represented by an organization’s employees. An organization’s employees are thus a valuable resource in terms of humanizing a particular brand and hence can be termed as “Brand Evangelists”. Hence, instead of spending billions of dollars globally for marketing efforts, using in-house resources for the same is definitely worth considering. We shall discuss the concept of brand evangelism in the article below.
Introducing the Brand Evangelists:
Employees who serve as a Company’s brand evangelists can be nurtured from inside the organization by creating a culture that “lives and breathes the brand” for the benefit of the company.
A company can gain a lot, out of implementing such a system, limited not only to resource saving but also boosts the overall company morale. In an age, where social communications are emerging as the most powerful weapon, and employees can be the most vocal and effective advocate of brand awareness for a company.
Six Easy Ways to Cultivate Brand Evangelism in Employees:
1. Understanding the Brand:
In the years gone by we have seen a particular distinction between a company’s employees and its marketing team, both serving as separate entities. However, this approach is not deemed to be effective in today’s world. Hence, a thorough understanding of the brand and its corporate value, should not be limited to just the marketing department, but to all the employees across several departments. The key to this requires numerous collaborative efforts among the different departments of an organization, notably the marketing, human resources, and operations department. This is necessary for communicating the brand within the entire organization and raising brand awareness.
This can be achieved by introducing corporate level brand objectives at the highest levels of the company’s hierarchy, which in turn will generate awareness among lower level employees.
2. Educating the Employees:
Being aware of the brand is just the first step, followed by brand recognition by a company’s own employees. These include understanding the values and recognizing the visual elements that make up the brand, how the brand is communicated, and to identify the different off-brand and on-brand qualities.
A great way to get started is to introduce printed or web-based corporate tools that will cultivate the brand name among employees. These can include corporate identity standards such as manuals, brand usage guidelines, and some creative communication tools. Also, communicating the current status and statistics of a brand regularly with the employees further deepens the understanding of the brand in the minds of its employees.
3. Connecting Employees with the Brand:
As mentioned before, creating some brand-related goals and adding them into each employee’s personal goals and objectives can go a long way in defining each individual’s role for the brand. Hence a proper understanding of the brand objectives should be within the grasp of a department manager, before passing it on to his/her subordinates. James Scott, CEO at content writing company Essay Supply, says: “Counting every voice in the company is crucial for the effectiveness and brand awareness, and it is wise to invest in brand awareness and company mission inside the team”.
This can be achieved in several ways, such as organizing brand rallies and events, as well as soliciting their feedback on the brand. Conducting competitions for spreading brand awareness among employees can also be creative, yet an effective method of invoking a feeling of brand loyalty and togetherness among the employees.
4. Working towards Brand Representation:
After employees have grasped the concept of the brand fully, better brand representations can then be worked upon. This involves turning employees into brand ambassadors for the company. This involves motivating them to speak positively about the organization and brand they work for in their social circles.
An effective way of doing this is to implement staff inclusive advertising campaigns involving product videos featuring employees involved in behind the scenes activities. Marketing teams can get really creative when using employees in this way, and instill a feeling of attachment inside an individual and the brand.
5. Encouraging Employees to Use the Brand’s products:
One of the best ways of communicating the plus points of a brand to its employees is to encourage them to use branded products. This is of course not just related to retail businesses but can be applied to services and other products as well.
For example, a person who works at a clinic would get discounted services as a reward, which in turn makes the individual choose h/her own brand over any other competition. This further solidifies the brand presence in the mind of its employees.
6. Being Concerned About Employees:
Showing employees that the top level cares about them, not just as paid workers but as a part of the team, can go a long way. Contrary to the popular belief, looking after employee welfare is not just restricted to HR efforts, but is a great way to boost employee morale along with the brand.
A simple example can be the recent introductions of standing desks by several multinational corporations worldwide. Studies showed that people who had desk jobs are more prone to cardiovascular problems than other jobs. Many companies have thus started introducing innovative practices such as “standing desks” to balance the effects of a sedentary work environment.
Advantages of Employee Brand Evangelism:
Instilling a sense of brand togetherness with employees has numerous advantages far exceeding any financial gains. For instance, companies can solidify their own presence by building up a strong employer brand, which in turn attracts the greater quality of talent in the long run. Employees can also serve as influencers in the market, attracting even more customers through positive word of mouth. Employers have to lead by example, almost acting as icons in their own right.
A very good real-world example would be Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin mobiles, who literally breathes and lives his own brand. This, in turn, can influence a company’s employees further strengthening the brand narrative among the workforce.
With the emergence of social media and various methods of communications, a disgruntled or unsatisfied employee can vent out h/her negative feelings towards the employee quite easily. This can affect brand image negatively among the general populous, something which no organization desires. Powerful and successful brands revolve around strong, consistent and constant communications from the ground up. Brand evangelism develops when employees are engaged and productive. Multi-fold business benefits can be realized in the long run, including improved high to lower level communication, increased employee satisfaction which ultimately translate to an enhanced customer satisfaction.
In closing, turning employees into brand evangelists involves a lot of time, effort, investment, and understanding, but the benefits gained from the same is crucial for a company’s survival in the long run.
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