What’s a brand? According to an article in Forbes by Jerry McLaughlin, “a brand is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual and emotional.”
What does your company’s brand stand for? You should know what your customers believe your brand represents as you perform regular market research to find this out.
Do you know how your employees perceive your brand? If you don’t, then it begs the question “How do your employees represent your brand to their friends, families and acquaintances if they don’t know what your brand stands for?”
Successful companies promote brand messages that support their purpose statement and give employees direction for every day behavior as well as something to boast about. The Gallup organization, a global analytics and advice firm dedicated to best practices across the spectrum of employment finds that just 28% of employees strongly agree with the statement “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand(s) different from our competitors.” Thus, a real opportunity for your employees to speak favorably and accurately about your company might be left on the table.
Orlando Health has gotten this right. Their brand’s mission statement is “To improve the health and quality of life of the individuals and communities we serve.” Orlando Health’s social media, according to the article 5 Healthcare Brands that Breathe New Life into Social Media Marketing Strategy, “feels absolutely personal—like receiving a text from a really close friend (who also happens to be extraordinarily versed in healthcare).”Their messaging for both employees and non-employees, incorporates a wholistic approach to quality of life that “includes the human need to feel comfortable and accepted”.
To help their employees share this message, the public website includes a For Team Members link. Anyone can navigate here to read company news such as their best workplaces designation, to watch videos, find employee discounts and to recognize a team member. Wouldn’t you want to be an employee brand ambassador for a hospital that is so public about engaging their workforce?
How can you help to make your employees brand ambassadors?
1) Make certain your external marketing messages tell stories of your brand in action.
2) Show the public examples of your employees living the brand, the mission and purpose statement.
3) Develop an “internal brand guide” and make readily available tools and images that help employees to share your brand message including your “brand promise” and “brand voice”. Brand promise is the benefit your customers receive from your products or services. Brand voice reflects the desired characteristics of your company’s personality, as if it were an actual person.
4) Develop brand content writing guidelines and “Words we use” that help employees communicate about your company with friends, family and customers in the most effective way.
5) Deliver to your employees branded social media messages they can share via their personal Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts.
6) Create recruitment brochures that promote your brand and purpose, showing your employees living your brand promise.
7) Message your brand to your internal audience constantly, so they begin to truly “live” the brand.
Successful companies encourage employees to speak favorably and accurately about the company’s brand and future. Your job as the marketing communicator is to equip them with the tools they need to be informed, successful, appreciated, and most importantly, engaged.
If you want to truly leverage your limited marketing resources, help your employees to be capable brand ambassadors. Don’t leave this important resource on the table.
James Shulkin is Internal Communication Manager at Quartz Health Solutions, Inc., and a member of WHPRMS since 1999. If you would like to contact him, write to firstname.lastname@example.org