Most business owners will already know that good branding and a solid marketing strategy is key to building a loyal customer base and effective awareness, particularly in competitive market places – but it isn’t just about a catchy slogan and quirky social media campaigns.
Savvy brands are now looking deeper into their company values and assets to cultivate a multifaceted brand culture from within, starting with their employees. Exposed to the brand on a daily basis, staff members could be one of your most powerful marketing tools with the right know how. That’s why today, our friends at Kendon Packaging will be be giving you valuable insights on how to develop an engaged team of brand ambassadors who live and breathe the same ethos as you do.
Communicate the brand vision
Your branding journey should begin with giving your organisation its own identity, which should be as fully formed as any personal identity. If you’re serious about developing a multidimensional brand that resonates with your employees and your consumers, it’s essential to clearly communicate your vision, values and characteristics to employees.
Providing them with the relevant information about the company’s objectives and brand ethos should give staff what they need to understand and embrace what you’re trying to achieve and how it benefits both them and the end user.
In terms of how this translates to promoting your brand, engaged employees are far more likely to become brand ambassadors if they feel involved in the company culture and objectives – naturally representing and promoting your brand within their job and their everyday lives. It may sound obvious, but if you love where you work and believe in the product or services you’re selling, you naturally want to tell people about it!
Decorate the office
As part of your branding strategy, it also pays to give your workspace a brand makeover. Whether you’re a startup operating out of a small rented office or an established brand with multiple premises, ensuring that the working environment embodies a consistent brand message and culture is key to gaining employee buy-in.
Start by ensuring there is visible branding in key areas of the office such as the receipton, communal kitchen and meeting rooms. You can take this one step further by incorporating a brand colour scheme throughout the office decor. This doesn’t mean garish colours all over the walls, but simple coloured accents like furniture and artwork on the walls will help to subtly expose staff members to the brand image throughout their working day.
For new starters, ensure they’re fully exposed to the brand right away with free product samples (in the case of B2C) or service testers (in the case of B2B). This onboarding phase for new employees is important if you want to build brand advocates as they need to instantly feel connected to the brand and valued as an employee, as well as having an understanding of the customer experience. By immersing them into the brand early in their working environment, they’re more likely to feel engaged and willing to personally represent your organisation.
To bolster the concept of shared visions and goals with the aim of improving employee engagement and brand buy-in, holding regular inter-departmental meetings could be an effective way to promote inclusion. Even in smaller businesses, there will be different divisions operating separately and it’s easy for these to become disconnected over time.
Team meetings can also provide the opportunity to communicate new company objectives and offer the chance to get employees involved in the organisation’s visions by inviting them to give feedback on values, as well as inputting new ideas. Giving employees a platform to constructively put forward their views is crucial to making them feel empowered and included in key decisions in some way, which all goes towards strengthening their value as a brand ambassador.
Tap into employee influence
Influencer marketing has been on the rise for some time, with many brands affiliating themselves with online influencers to build trust and brand awareness with their target audiences. However, you don’t need to trawl through Instagram or Twitter to find suitable brand advocates – with an engaged workforce, you can look in-house to your employees instead.
Employee advocates are on the rise according to Sprout Social’s 2018 index, with 71% of social marketers using or planning to use employee influencers as a branding strategy. With the ability to organically build brand awareness and trust through simple word-of-mouth marketing online, tapping into your employee’s influence could prove fruitful and cost effective.
In addition, the voice of a regular employee can resonate better than a corporate one with consumers, helping to build rapport and trust with the end-user in a genuine way.
Take a leaf out of Adobe’s book and create a culture that encourages employees to share their stories and experiences of working at your organisation online with their followers. Whether it’s creating a brand hashtag that can be used when sharing photos and tweets related to work life or events, or encouraging employees to retweet company news, empowering employees to embrace this sharing culture will reach a wider audience and project a more authentic view for your brand.
Reward employee advocacy
Getting employees engaged and motivated about the brand while promoting it is one thing, but this shouldn’t feel like an obligation – so it’s important that they’re recognised for their efforts.
Whether it’s providing some free branded merchandise or incentives like a team night out or gift vouchers for the brand ambassador of the month, the praise and recognition doesn’t always need to be a grand gesture, but more a sign of appreciation.
The benefits of establishing a multidimensional brand that harnesses the power of employees as brand advocates could be the best way to market your business in the future. With these insights, we hope you’ll be able to take the right steps towards nurturing your most valuable asset.
Alex Jones is a content creator for Kendon Packaging, who manufacture and supply a range of quality cardboard boxes, protective packaging solutions and more. Now one of Britain’s leading packaging companies, Kendon Packaging has been supporting businesses nationwide since the 1930s.