In recognition of Clearpoint Agency’s 10 year anniversary, our content will be featuring posts all year long about the number 10. This time it’s 10 ways you can encourage your team members to become advocates for your brand. Have a tenacious idea? Let us know!
When businesses think about marketing, they often see customers as the main and more important target audience. However, employees are the face of the company and can be your most valuable brand ambassadors. We recently attended a webinar led by Elaine Fogel, president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting on “How to collaborate effectively within your organization to strengthen your brand.” According to Fogel, employees value open communication and want to be recognized. We agree and put together a list of 10 key points based on the webinar, along with a few of our own, to consider for a successful internal communication program.
1. Put employees in the first market of the company: Fogel says that employees have to be happy and engaged in order to promote the brand before they can promote externally. Happy employees will also be loyal to your brand.
2. Let employees get creative: during the webinar we learned that employees who are given the opportunity to collaborate at work are more likely to bring new ideas. This also ties into employees’ professional development – being exposed to new projects will enhance their skills, and will make work more fun too.
3. Create an internal marketing plan: this is the way a company promotes its brand and values to employees internally. Fogel states that employees are the face of the company, so they need to understand the vision and values in order to be able to promote it.
4. Encourage employee engagement: research shows that engaged employees are happier and deliver better customer service. We’ve seen many companies strive to provide excellent customer satisfaction, but in order to achieve it they need to ensure that their employees are satisfied first.
5. Ask for feedback: leaders often think that their way is the right way. Fogel advises leaders to not be afraid to ask employees for their points of view. This way, you will not only gather feedback, but will make them feel valuable. We have found that conducting surveys, interviews and holding regular meetings helps leaders to receive the feedback they’re looking for.
6. Establish a reward program: it will only reassure employees that they are doing a great job and that you appreciate their hard work. It doesn’t have to be a big bonus. If you are tight on the budget, even praise, a gift card or a random day off can be enough to make an employee feel acknowledged. Remember, every gesture counts!
7. Use the Intranet: we get dozens of emails a day, and they often get buried. Fogel suggests using the Intranet to its fullest potential. Post content, interactive displays, video presentations and more. The intranet will serve as a portal where employees can receive all the information they need from one place. We also recommend sending an employee e-newsletter or creating a marketing group that everyone is required to follow. Share stories and clips you find from the web that they might find interesting to talk about.
8. Organize team building events: we have learned that you don’t have to go crazy to spend quality time with your employees. If the company is too big, group teams together and have them go to off-site meetings. This way they will break away from the routine and will be even more productive.
9. Communicate openly: at Clearpoint, we believe that open communication at the workplace is essential. If you want employees to trust you, make sure they are “in-the-know.” For example, if the company is undergoing rebranding, tell employees and ask them for their opinion. Hold brainstorming sessions, ask them for new ideas and feedback on upcoming milestones.
10. Focus on brand building as a long term play: to motivate employees as brand ambassadors, keep them engaged throughout the year. There is usually a combination of things you need to do – and it all takes time. It all depends on your company’s culture – as PR experts we can tell you that what works for one brand, may not work for another and vice versa. So, don’t be afraid to try new strategies and tactics over time to see what’s best for your brand.
This post was contributed by Antonia Genov, Clearpoint Agency, Account Coordinator