How to encourage employee participation in brand building
Marketing is constantly changing due to various factors, and if you want to stay on the rise, you need to be able to adapt. Advertising used to be much simpler, but with the growing distrust towards ads and official brands’ images, marketers had to shift a part of their focus to something else. And so internal marketing took the stage. Apparently, 66% of potential clients read and believe online opinions about companies, while 83% of all consumers trust personal recommendations more than ads – they prefer to ask someone for advice than believe what they see or can find on the internet. And who can be more credible and trustworthy than an employee of the company?
What is internal marketing and why is it a way to go?
Internal marketing is about staying inside your company with your advertising and selling strategies. You focus not so much on promoting your products or services to the general audience, as on selling them to your own employees – you peers, colleagues, leaders, etc. The marketing department can’t be seperate from the rest of the company; it should be transparent, just like everything else, and, to be true, everyone should be a part of the advertising team.
A good internal marketing strategy will help you build brand awareness without which you can’t really run a thriving business. It’s important to make sure that, when it comes to your employees, their work is not only a way to get a paycheck. The company is more likely to succeed if its members actually believe in it – its goals, mission, and what it stands for. Then, if they are involved, they become eager to spread the message which is what you should aim for. According to Linkedin, employees have 10 times more followers on social media than your company’s social media account. Their posts are more likely to reach a much broader audience, plus, they seem more trustworthy to people than any ads.
How can you engage your employees?
In most cases, people don’t feel connected to the workplace not because they hate it, but simply because they are underinformed or they don’t really get the team spirit. How can you change it?
- Make sure your message is consistent across all channels
Probably all of us know an example of a company saying one thing while doing something completely different, e.g. using plastic in an eco-friendly business, or talking about equality while 100% of management is male. Spreading the wrong message is one of the worst moves a business can make. If you want to advertise something that is simply not true, your employees will not like it, and neither will your target audience. Credibility is the key to a successful marketing strategy – the more workers know about what they are part of and the more believe in it, the more they want to share it with their families, friends, and the world. Talk to your employees and consult with them; make sure they know what and why you all do. Once they understand, they may identify themselves with it and feel more passionate about it, and there’s no better advertisement than someone’s passion.
- Appreciate your employees and highlight their input
You probably know it from your own experience – you are much more motivated if you know that your work is being appreciated. Even if you’re only doing your job, it’s great to know that you’re doing it right and you’re contributing to your company’s success. Of course, acknowledgment itself shouldn’t be the only form of motivation, but it can really go a long way. If your employees are happy, so are the customers, especially when you’re in the customer service industry. When your employees feel that their input has a meaning, they start linking themselves to the brand and they will try to make a difference by brainstorming ideas and promoting your products or services.
- Encourage social media sharing and brand building
People don’t really like getting branded messages and seeing ads while browsing the web. Most of them won’t pay attention to them, a great part will get irritated and link your brand to negative emotions later; a lot of them won’t even see it, as blocking ads is so common and completely normal these days (one-quarter of users does that on a daily basis, according to eMarketer report). You should let your employees know that you encourage social media sharing and other ways to build your brand. Don’t impose and never demand anything – it has to come from them. Only then will it look natural and honest; and customers like it.
- Know who your work with
There can be no genuine appreciation, transparency nor developing relationships if you don’t know your employees as individuals. Know their personal goals, values and worries – maybe there’s something that could be linked to yours or these of the company. Everyone should know that you all work together towards the same and similar goals, that your workers’ personal growth and satisfaction translate into the success of the brand. When people see that the company cares about them, they will possibly reciprocate. Know how they feel and answer all questions they may have; maybe there’s a need for additional training or anything that could improve your situation quicker. Your employees have a very different insight in your company’s everyday life and you should realize how valuable it is.
- Keep working
It never really stops, but it’s worth it. Once all your strategies are in place, employees have agreed and participate in brand building, you need to keep improving. Ask for feedback, stay close to your workers, talk to them, and don’t wait for annual meetings to ask them how they’re doing.
These are only several suggestions that you can implement to involve your employees in brand building. The most important thing is to make them feel like they are a vital part of the company. Show them they matter – because they do! Then they will be happy to share with the world what they are doing professionally and why others should know about it.