There’s a lot of effort exerted by marketing leaders to turn customers into brand advocates. But their customers have a lot of brand choices and a lot of other things on their minds. What these marketers are overlooking is the potential brand advocates in their own backyard. Their employees. Employees are fundamentally connected to, thinking about, and representing your brand every day. They are often your biggest fans.
Indeed, our research shows that one of the biggest shifts of brand building in the 21st century is that — for leading brands — it is now a companywide effort. A unanimous 100% of marketing leaders surveyed by Forrester agreed that brand building requires all employees to be brand ambassadors. But the companies they lead are not yet living up to this aspiration. While many marketers’ eyes light up at the prospect of tapping in to their employees' Twitter networks, just focusing on social is missing the point. Yes, social is a valuable tool to create conversation. But true employee brand advocacy requires chief marketing officers (CMOs) to go deeper. They need to make delivering a superior brand experience part of the enterprise culture. Brand advocacy can’t be another task on someone’s to-do list. Make brand building part of how employees do their job and guide them by the light of a clear brand North Star so that your powerful new army marches to the same drumbeat. Forrester’s three-step framework guides the way:
- Excite with an inspiring brand experience. A PowerPoint presentation at the company meeting just won’t cut it. Bring the brand to life for your employees. Starbucks invested a staggering $35 million to create an interactive brand lab to bring the brand experience to life for its frontline employees.
- Educate employees on the brand. Immerse old and new employees alike in the brand history and heritage so that they know where it comes from, what it stands for, and why customers love it. Show the brand through the eyes of the consumer, not just corporate milestones. And use video, photos, and 3D exhibits to bring it to life.
- Enroll them in the cause. Make the brand tangible to employees. Connect their jobs to the brand. For example, showcase employee stories that embody the brand.
To learn how to make employees your secret brand building weapon, check out my new report, “Build Your Army of Brand Advocates From Across The Enterprise” (client access required). How are you building your employee brand army?