Consider this – people are ready to pay something around $4 for a coffee from Starbucks when they can get a coffee for $1 from the cafe two stores down the road! How is it that Starbucks charges such a premium price and still have millions of customers? Just one word – branding. Starbucks is not just a coffee shop – it’s a worldwide symbol for quality coffee and great service. That’s the significance of having a strong brand. So, if you haven’t thought of brand building yet, it’s time to get started. When you think of brand building you also have to think of brand ambassadors or brand champions. And who could be the best brand champions other than your own employees?
Many companies focus all their branding efforts on advertising and packaging and tend to overlook their biggest assets – their employees. Employees are the first customers of a brand. They should feel connected to the aspirations of the company and then work towards achieving them. Just because your employees share company-related content on social media does not mean that they are building your brand.
According to the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, 41% of customers trust the employees of a company more than the firms’ PR department or CEO. So before building employee advocacy programs, you need to advocate for the employee. Engaged employees will have an emotional attachment to their jobs which will, in turn, drive them to learn and perform at work. So what can you do to motivate your employees and get them to work for a common purpose? Read on to find out.
1) Get to know your employees:
The first step towards motivating your employees is getting to know them. In a large organization, getting to know everyone on the team would not be easy. As they say, “Where there is a will, there is a way”. Here are a few tips to help you:
- Play games together: As simple as that. During your afternoon breaks, you can have some games which are the perfect setting to talk about work-related as well as non-work-related stuff. You can then use the information in your employee engagement programs.
- Hold team meetings: Hold team meetings to discuss the visions, goals and take feedbacks. Employees should be free to raise concerns and share their opinions.
- Work alongside: While working along with them, you can know what they do and how they do it. You can also guide them as well as learn from them. Show them that you genuinely care.
- Be authentic: Many leaders lead double lives. They are one personality inside the office and a completely different one, the moment they step out of the office. This portrays a picture that you are not genuine. To inspire people to do their best work you have to be your true self first.
2) Encourage self-discovery:
Organizations should channelize employee socialization towards personal identity rather than corporate identity. Questions such as “What makes you perform the best?” or “What gives you the most satisfaction in your work?” shows that you care about the well-being of your employees which leads to engagement. Questions like “ Why do you want to be part of this company ?” communicates arrogance which is, of course, repelling. Your approach should authentically attract new brand ambassadors.
3) Knowledge Sharing:
According to Trade Press Services, 85% of employees feel more motivated when they are regularly updated regarding the company news. Employees always want to be kept in the loop about company initiatives, news, industry news and other sources. Knowledge sharing sessions help to keep a workforce connected to one another. You may also arrange mentorship programs as part of knowledge sharing. This gets employees involved in conversations allowing feedback, participation as well as incentivization.
4) Make brand awareness a priority:
Employees should know what the company stands for and what makes your brand different from those of your competitors. Unfortunately, very few people are actually aware of this. If your team is not clear about what your brand is and what it stands for, how can they represent the brand? You must take time to educate your team on the significance of your brand and lead them by example.
5) Give them projects where they can lead:
As part of knowing your employees, you should ensure that you know their talents and interests. Once you are abreast with this knowledge, you can create unique projects for them to improve their skills. Educate your ambassadors on using social media to promote your brand. You can also include leadership training programs for those who stand out and help to position themselves as thought leaders.
6) Build a strong company culture:
An inspiring work environment automatically promotes positive activities from your employees making them brand champions. If you haven’t already, you need to focus on your company culture i.e your founding principles, workplace norms, employee benefits. Getting a clear understanding of the current culture is very important. Finally, let your workforce know that what they do matters for the success of the company.
Thus, integrating the personal brands of your employees will help them to become brand champions for your company. After all, they are the greatest resource within an organization. Now that you have the tools required to create brand champions, go and get started! Have any thoughts to share with us? We would love to hear from you. Contact us now!