By Greg Kihlström and Bonnie Habyan
Branding is more than just a logo or a tagline – it’s the promise that you make to your customers about the value you offer and in the way you solve their challenges and meet their needs and desires. Not only does this help attract loyal customers, it can also attract top talent, boost company morale, and expand business opportunities. However, amplifying your brand to broader audiences is no easy task, especially in the digital age where customers are inundated with choices and consumer expectations are continually increasing. This is where brand ambassadors come in.
Let’s look at five ways that creating a culture aligns with your mission statement, making customer service and brand care part of employees’ duties, allowing them to serve up experiences, aligning at all levels, tracking and sharing results, and rewarding their support can turn employees into brand ambassadors.
Create a Culture That Aligns with Your Mission
Your mission statement defines your company, and your employees are the living embodiment of it. To create a culture that aligns with your mission statement, start by asking yourself what kind of values your company promotes. Then, examine whether these values are reflected in your hiring process, onboarding, and training. Finally, ask for feedback from employees on what they think of the company culture and take their suggestions seriously.
Remember that a mission statement is only the beginning. Make sure everyone from executive leadership to the rest of the organization is “walking the talk” and not just paying lip service to the mission.
Make Customer Service and Brand Care Part of Everyone’s Role
Every employee in your company has the potential to become a brand ambassador, but only if they understand what your brand stands for. Make sure that customer service and brand care are part of their responsibilities, regardless of their role. This means that they should be trained on how to handle customer inquiries, complaints, and feedback, and how to represent your brand in their interactions.
Brands that have consistently great customer experience find ways to align everyone’s role with the customer. With some roles this may be easier than others—front line employees have direct interactions, for instance—but if you can show all of your team members how their work has an impact on customers for the better, they are also likely to be more motivated to come up with great new ideas.
Tee Up Easy Ways to Allow Them to Serve Up Experiences
To turn your employees into brand ambassadors, you need to empower them to offer memorable experiences to customers. This starts with providing them with the tools and resources they need to do their job effectively, but it also means giving them the autonomy to make decisions that will delight customers. In this way employee experience is directly tied to customer experience.
Encourage employees to go out of their way to make customers feel special, whether by offering a personalized message, a small gift, or a discount on their next purchase. This discretionary effort can make all the difference in the world, and can build loyal, lifelong relationships with customers.
Create a Ripple Effect
Amplifying your brand requires a concerted effort at all levels of your organization, from the CEO to front-line employees. Remember that employees are the driving force behind every successful brand, and their collective voice can have a ripple effect that can amplify your message to a larger audience.
Encourage employees to share their experiences with customers on social media or through word of mouth. At the same time, make sure that all employees are aligned with the company’s messaging and values.
Track and Share Results, Reward Support
Finally, to turn your employees into brand ambassadors, you need to reward their support. This can be done in various ways, from incentives and recognition programs to career opportunities and bonuses. Whatever method you choose, make sure that you track the results of your employee advocacy program and share them with the rest of your organization. This will not only motivate employees to continue their efforts but also demonstrate the value of employee advocacy to the rest of the company.
Remember that extrinsic, or monetary rewards aren’t always the most effective means here, so explore all of your options to maximize engagement and get genuine support.
Turning employees into brand ambassadors is a powerful way to amplify your brand and create a memorable customer experience. By creating a culture that aligns with your mission statement, making customer service and brand care part of employees’ duties, allowing them to serve up experiences, aligning at all levels, tracking and sharing results, and rewarding their support, you can turn your employees into the driving force behind your brand. Remember, in addition to getting critical work done, employees are the voice of your brand, and their advocacy can make all the difference in the success of your organization.