“When employees are happy, they are your very best ambassadors.” – James Sinegal
A company is known by its brand. This makes the brand one of the most valuable strengths of a company and will allow the company to be positioned distinctly in the crowded market place. The brand is what ‘speaks’ to customers and other consumers and it is the job of everyone in the company to enhance the image of the brand. Employees as your brand ambassadors, is the sure shot way to represent your brand across a larger cross-section of people. Wherever your employees go, how they behave and how happy or not they are with your company, will determine what they say about your company. Happy employees as your brand ambassadors are the most valuable assets and will speak volumes about the quality of your company.
Any company, actually every company now, claims to be top class in customer service and spend a lot of time and effort conveying this to customers through various methods and communication channels. However, when a customer connects, the proof of these words would lie in the way they are greeted and spoken to by the employees. It all depends on how you treat your internal customers, such that they live and spread the values and promise that your brand stands for. What better way to gain the confidence and trust of the market than have your employees as your brand ambassadors? Your employees will serve your customers in same great way that they are treated, will seem happy to resolve even complex problems of the customers and overall be value-added partners for your company.
To build and sustain the image of a brand is hard work and yet it is only one part of the whole gamut of the brand building. When your employees as your brand ambassadors means that they will consistently display what your brand stands for, not just while working in the office but will also be mindful of their demeanour and display of values when they are outside the office. Employees as your brand ambassadors are the most powerful weapon and an indispensable tool that will outdo your competition and make it near impossible for them to replicate the results you get. Companies that have happy employees are in a very secure and delightful position and will enjoy sustained competitive advantage.
You know that your employees are your brand ambassadors when they stand firm with you even in the most extenuating circumstances and in the face of extreme crisis. They would remain emotionally connected, would be willing to work harder and would do whatever they could to ensure that the tradition of their brand’s superiority is never undermined. A bond and connection with employees is an extremely valuable asset for any company and this is something that no one can duplicate or take away from you, if you maintain it consistently. Ensure that your company’s leadership appreciates and values the brand and display this pride in every way possible. They must also display their gratitude to every employee thereby raising the morale of each person in the company. People in a company mirror the actions of their leaders – great leadership will not find it hard to develop employees as your brand ambassadors.
Employees as your brand ambassadors, not only serve the customers well, but also work together with the leadership to keep the brand flying high and engaging enough to not only keep current customers interested but also attract more customers.
How do you make employees as your brand ambassadors? Does it happen by virtue of them being employees or do you need to work towards it? The answer lies within each company but the common fact is that to get your employees in brand ambassador mode requires effort and consistency in this effort. Help your employees to completely and thoroughly understand the brand – there can be no advocacy if they don’t get what the brand stands for. They must be able to identify with the message the brand conveys and how it connects with the values and culture of the company.
Make your employees your brand ambassadors by including them in all the official communication and even organizing special events for the launch or re-launch of a brand. Ensure that the communication conveys a commitment to customer service and long term trust. Employees must remain and feel connected with the brand and must be constantly trained and coached in order to understand how they must communicate the brand depending on the current market conditions and customer preferences.
In addition, to spread the awareness amongst your employees, in order for them to spread it forward, ensure that all the resources related to the brand must be readily available to them. Guidelines on the brand, tools required to enhance the brand and what must be conveyed to customers regarding the brand must be regularly conveyed to the employees and they must be encouraged to share their knowledge with their co-workers and also those they associate with outside the official realm.
When your brand performs well, it would be due to the efforts of your employees. Organize an event or some kind of celebration to uphold these efforts and also to give your brand a place of prominence. Organizing such events enhances the sense of pride that your company and employees have in the brand and even the employees identify with this sense of pride. When employees feel proud to be associated with something, they would do whatever it takes to raise the product or brand on a pedestal since their value as employees would also be enhanced with the brand. Just as it would be best for a company to get the best employees at the hiring stage, you can make your employees as your brand ambassadors at the on-boarding stage. Integrate your brand’s salient features in to the induction program to share your company’s perspective and also to get fresh insights from the new employees. When they can identify with the brand at the stage of their inception in to the company, they would find it easier to uphold the brand’s values and heritage.
The most important factor in making and keeping your employees as your brand ambassadors is to continually recognize and reward those employees that display the values of the brand and also uphold its integrity in their everyday work and demeanour. Recognizing such efforts not only keeps their morale boosted to continue being great brand ambassadors, but also encourages others to follow suit and earn such recognition. Simple rewards like dinners, movie tickets or even a hand-written letter from the CEO recognizing their efforts or even better opportunities and better increments for the deserving employees, can do wonders for the morale of high performing employees. It is only fair that a company recognizes the efforts of employees striving to be good brand ambassadors, as it is through these efforts that the brand comes to life and remains in mind of your customers and other consumers.
A brand will remain just a name for a company unless your employees are your brand ambassadors. They put life and an image to the brand – bringing it to life if you may. Engaged employees are happy employees, and happy employees are indispensable in creating happy customers. It is a productive circle that reaps rich benefits for all those involved. Employees as your brand ambassadors not only build the company’s brand image but also become brands in their own right. Give your employees reasons to be brand ambassadors and they will not only be partners in your success but also remain loyal and steadfast to your company.