Equip employees to turn them into brand ambassadors

04 December 2019 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read

It’s a well-known saying – employees are a brand’s best advocates and ambassadors. New research shows that while the majority of employees are connected to their firm’s mission, values and brand, and actively support their employer with (online) marketing, companies continue to miss out on untapped opportunities.

Marketing functions typically focus their budget and resources primarily on external communication and branding, in the process overlooking what may be the most effective channel they have – their own people. “Employees are the face of a company and their inside knowledge and connection to the business makes them a powerful brand advocate,” explained Petra Smith, founder of Squirrels & Bears.

The London-based marketing consultancy surveyed over 160 leaders and professionals at SMEs and large businesses, and found a sizeable opportunity gap for company marketers. On a positive note, over 90% of employees said they are familiar with their organisation's mission, vision and values, and two-thirds feel that they are sufficiently updated about their organisation's latest news, products and services. 

Equip employees to turn them into brand ambassadors

However, when it comes to putting that knowledge to action, one-third of respondents said that they lack the necessary skills and tools need to be a brand advocate. Highlighting the cost of this foregone opportunity, the survey further pointed out that over 85% of employees talk about their organisation outside of work, and 95% of them see economic value in their professional network. 

Smith: “These informal conversations could lead to greater brand awareness and new business opportunities, if businesses encourage and equip their employees with the right knowledge and resources. Employee brand advocates can organically increase brand visibility and demonstrate the value of products and services; however, they need to feel confident when talking about their organisation.”

A similar conclusion can be drawn for online. On review sites or social networks, employee recommendations are considered more authentic by their peers, who are then more likely to trust communications and recommendations. According to the survey, 22% of employees don’t follow or share their employer’s social media updates and 28% only do so occasionally, meaning that companies are not fully tapping into the online network of their employee base. 

“By providing relevant social media training and connecting employees to the brand, companies can bridge the gap between personal and business branding and tap into employees’ social media networks, opening up new business opportunities and increasing employee engagement,” concluded Smith.