Empowering Employees to Become Brand Ambassadors: Digital Roundtable Recap

There can't be a gap between what we say and what we do as a brand. Here's how to get employees engaged and aligned with all marketing efforts.

I recently led The CMO Club’s Digital Roundtable discussion, where members participated in an engaging conversation about how to involve the entire company in marketing and branding.

Today, brand equals experience, meaning that there can’t be a gap between what we say and what we do. Cohesion needs to extend to each member of the team, too, making it imperative that employees are aligned with all marketing efforts.

Getting the entire company engaged with the brand can be an uphill challenge that requires daily focus. In many cases, this means having a person or team dedicated specifically to enhancing the employee experience and journey.

For CMOs and companies that have a strategy for empowering employees, a united voice and elevated customer experience is well worth the effort.

Empower the Team

Have you adopted an employees-first attitude yet?

If you want your employees to engage with your company, it’s important that you let them know their value to the team.

Encouraging employees to promote and become ambassadors for the company allows for an extension of the brand team to reach across all levels and functions of the organization. This facilities engagement and two-way feedback between departments and levels.

For example, better internal engagement with employees can drive alignment with sales and marketing.

This means treating employees like you would customers, and dedicating your time to understanding their motivations and behaviors. One CMO said their company created employee journey maps, where they set up touch points 30 days after original on-boarding and continued to map out when their team members would most need support.

You can also highlight exceptional individuals by giving them special brand ambassador roles. Make them feel proud about helping others, defining what the organization stands for and encouraging external interaction with consumers. Making the position an honor with executive recognition elevates its importance even more.

This is increasingly effective for the millennial generation who want to be involved regardless of area of responsibility.

Get Digital

Social media needs to be a lifestyle, not just a task that gets checked off a list.

Integrate your company’s social media channels into the entire culture – put the Twitter handle on all communications, create a hashtag for employee retreats or take a Tweet break during meetings to allow employees to share their excitement about what the company is doing.

As always, the CMO needs to be a visible leader of these efforts. Many millenials are already living this kind of culture, so show them via your own channels how and where to promote the company.

Have an employee that isn’t a social media fan? Empower them in other ways or offer to teach them.

One CMO Club member has a team at their company that will help employees set up personal LinkedIn accounts and show them how to use the platform for professional networking.

Understand the Challenges

Implementing a branding initiative doesn’t come without challenges, but being able to prepare will help you avoid surprises in the future.

Members discussed two main pain points when undergoing a brand refresh or new marketing efforts: resonation and sustainability within the brand.

As a CMO, it is your role to set a highly visible goal for your team, making sure individuals can do more than just recite a new slogan. The whole organization needs to ‘get it’ in a way that resonates with each employee.

Once this has been done, you are already putting into action the first steps toward sustainability. Next, give everyone the opportunity to participate in branding initiatives by encouraging each individual to partake in an outward dialogue with consumers.

Don’t forget to check in regularly: What will your team be saying/doing 2 months from now? Will they revert to an old dialogue or stay true to the brand refresh?

To make sure all that hard work doesn’t dissipate, your company must continue engaging with employees on a daily basis. A unified branding effort requires extreme focus and constant attention at every level.

Brands that excel at these concepts will effectively empower their employees and enhance the customer experience at every touch point.