Often, marketers overlook one of the most important resources for product promotion: their staff.
Sure, your marketing plan may include great ads, compelling videos and a regular social media posts. But if your employees aren't promoting your products then you are overlooking one of your brand’s most powerful assets: 55% of people see a brand's employees as a credible source of business information, which is higher than CEOs. When you can position your staff to use, share and promote the products you make because they truly love them, you'll see a dramatic ROI on your marketing efforts.
Here are some proven ways to get your employees involved as brand ambassadors.
Educate Your Staff on What Your Brand Stands For
Gallup asked over 3,000 workers whether they knew what their company stood for and what differentiated their brand from its competitors. Alarmingly, just 41% of employees affirmed that they knew their brand's stance and competitive edge. On the other hand, 24% of employees reported that they did not know what their brand was about!
How can your employees truly advocate for your brand if they don't know what makes it shine? To successfully turn staff into brand ambassadors, your marketing strategy must begin here.
First, you’ll want to find out what your employees know or think about your brand. Try conducting an in-office survey to determine their level of knowledge and identify any misconceptions. Then, host team meetings or seminars to educate employees about your brand identity. Ensure that it’s communicated effectively to new hires.
To reinforce the message, make sure your office space and your corporate culture effectively reflect your brand identity. If your brand is all about adventure and the outdoors, but your office is full of featureless cubicles and fluorescent lighting, it’s no wonder your employees are confused.
Allow Free Expression in the Workplace
When employees feel they cannot be themselves at work, how can they share the things they like in an authentic manner? To create a culture of engaged staff who feel passionately about the brand, you must allow employees to express their opinions freely.
There are many ways to encourage freedom of expression at work. You might begin by allowing employees free time to share something about themselves or their weekend during meetings, by promoting a culture of respect or by removing policies that curtail ways an employee can express themselves online—within reason.
Reward Employees Who Generate Sales or Leads
Now that your staff get what your brand is about, and feel empowered to speak their minds, they're ready to promote your brand. To encourage them to share their enthusiasm for you brand, offer rewards for employees who generate leads or sales.
You might hold a friendly competition where the team member who refers the most leads in a month wins a $25 gift card. Or you might decide it's better to reward everyone who speaks out about your products with something simple, like $5 in Starbucks rewards.
The monetary value of these rewards amount doesn’t matter. What matters is that you're investing in your employees through rewards, creating a marketing plan that leverages your strengths and creating a cohesive community where employees understand that what they do (and say) matters.
Simply by implementing these three steps, you will be on your way to empowering staff to connect to and authentically advertise your brand. Keep experimenting with new ways to create an open culture, inform employees about your core values and signature products and reward staff who take the time to promote your brand.