How To Train Your Employees To Be Brand Ambassadors
When you’re looking for ways to improve your branding and reach with consumers, some of your most important assets are (literally) sitting right in front of you: your employees.
In some shape or form, all employees have interactions with customers, be it directly (sales and customer service reps) or indirectly (developers, fulfillment workers, and others who are behind the scenes making sure things run smoothly). And increasingly, customers are looking to employees to understand what a company is all about. In the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer Study, employees performed higher in public trust than PR departments or even CEOs.
So, how do you ensure your employees are supporting and enhancing your brand in their interactions with customers? The answer comes in two interrelated parts:
- Make sure employees are engaged.
- Train them to be brand ambassadors.
The more excited employees are about your brand, the more engaged they will be. Gallup polls show that companies with highly engaged employees have 3.9 times the earnings per share compared to those in the same industry whose employees are less engaged with their company’s brand.
We’ve found that a good training program for brand ambassadors should include the following five facets:
1. Clear and easily accessible brand content
One recent Gallup poll showed that 41% of employees don’t know what their company’s branding is, making it significantly harder to get them on board with promoting it.
During new hire training, be sure to include an overview of the company’s brand, with potential follow-up trainings that focus solely on that message. Then, use an easily accessible content platform to make sure all employees can have that content for future use.
2. Tools for success
The easier it is for employees to engage with the brand, the more likely they will be to promote it…so give them some ready-made items that are easy to promote. These could be:
- Hashtags, like Red Bull’s successful #PutACanOnIt
- Events at which employees can partake in branding, (re)training and learning the company history, like McDonald’s Founder’s Day event.
- Cool branded “swag” that makes employees feel like they are “living” the brand.
These can all be highlighted during new hire training and given at regular intervals to current workers.
3. Employee empowerment
Taking an interest in employees’ personal brands shows their employer cares about them and their personal growth and potential. Research from Cornell University reveals that employees who can be their “authentic best selves” are more productive and more likely to stick around. Plus, employees with a good grasp on their unique skills and the company’s brand will be better able to use those skills toward the goal of being good brand ambassadors.
Use training to help employees first pinpoint their own personal brand. Ask questions like “What allows you to do your best work?” and “What makes you proud to work at this company?”
4. Dedicated social media brand ambassadors training
Today, much brand promotion occurs online via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Training employees to be superb brand ambassadors on social media is a great way to keep a consistent message going for your company.
The biggest factors in successful social media training are including clear guidelines, ensuring employees are comfortable with them, and then giving them space and trusting them to promote the brand in a way that is authentic to them and beneficial to the organization.
5. Post-training surveys
There will always be some employees who are better at brand promotion than others, so make sure you’re putting in the effort to find out who they are. Not only can you highlight their achievements to the company at large, but you can use post-training surveys to find out who is interested in taking further training in brand ambassadorship.
Your employees are excellent resources to increase your brand promotion. After all, they’re already committed to the company and familiar with its goals. Increase that commitment and knowledge with brand ambassador-specific training, and you’ll have a workforce that’s ready and willing to spread your company’s good name–in addition to being more motivated, engaged employees.
Go behind-the-scenes of Hootsuite’s hugely successful global Ambassador program in a brand new success story and learn the brand’s strategy for scaling their program from just 84 loyal fans to 7X that number in 10 months.