Too often overlooked as just being the people who work for the company, company employees are a business’ most influential marketing asset. Their unparalleled value comes from the positive exposure an employee can generate for their employer, using their own digital assets to communicate a professional message to their personal audience.
Strong, timeless brands are not built by marketing efforts alone. To build yourself a strong corporate brand, you will need brand ambassadors. Every employee in every department is a brand ambassador, and as such has an important (and influential) role to play in delivering an authentic and trustworthy message to consumers.
The employee’s role as a brand ambassador is so important that, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, employees rank higher in public trust than most any other member of the company. According to Edelman’s 2016 Trust Barometer, when forming an opinion about a company, a majority of consumers are more receptive to and influenced by information provided by employees; given that they perceive them to be peers and “a person like [themselves].” Also worth mentioning, trust in the insight provided by a company’s CEO has risen eight percent (to 49%) since 2015.
Examples of company brand ambassadors’ financial contributions are well documented. An ongoing Gallup study revealed that companies with high employee engagement levels have 3.9 times the earnings per share when compared to those in the same industry with lower engagement levels.
Employees rank higher in public trust than a company’s public relations department, CEO, or even the founder. – Edelman Trust Barometer
To ensure that employees are communicating a digital message that provides the most benefit to your business, make certain that they are well aware of what your company’s principles are, and what makes your offerings different from the competition. Help employees understand your brand positioning and differentiation so that they can communicate a genuine, trustworthy message. For success, your brand guidelines must be easy to comprehend, and easy to follow. You need guidelines that enable advocacy instead of restricting it: guidelines on what to share, how to share, and ideas on where to share content.
Once educated with an understanding of the corporate brand objectives, employees should be encouraged to apply their own unique skills and expertise to help move the corporate goals forward. It is important to understand that the strength of your brand ambassadors will come from their ability to deliver on the corporate brand promise in a way that is authentic and, at the same time, leverages the brand’s corporate identity.
Businesses that consistently encourage an approach that empowers their employees to actively participate in corporate communications as brand ambassadors, will enjoy greater success at earning their audience’s loyalty, engagement, and trust, than a company that does not.