Everyone is part of your brand marketing

The most impressionable messages can be those communicated via word of mouth

01 March 2016

By Natalie Boyd – Social Media Manager

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As brands go about their marketing efforts, many don’t realise just how valuable their own employees are as “marketing tools”.

When you walk into an office and you encounter staff who look really happy to be in their environment, you believe in how genuine that company is. So in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, customers can pick their brand of choice from a gazillion social media posts. An overwhelming number of options mean customers prioritise authenticity when selecting a brand.

That authenticity is not the type of thing brands can get away with faking either, consumers are way too smart for that and dammit, they deserve the real thing. So how do you get your employees to represent your company authentically? Brand engagement.

Brand engagement is defined as the process of forming an emotional attachment between a person and a brand. It forms part of brand management and has become integral to the transparency we’re all looking for.

I find that there are three general guidelines for achieving brand engagement:

1. Promote self-discovery and personal branding

When companies promote self discovery with their employees they are also promoting personal branding. We all want to feel like individuals while we simultaneously work to achieve our employer’s overall goals. When employees are given this space and support it will naturally lead to productivity and general positivity in the workplace. That is authentic. Who wouldn’t do business with a company whose employees genuinely believe in their brand management goals?

2. Facilitate brand awareness

If you’re in management, ask yourself, how many of your employees can name all of your brand marketing goals? You need to make the first move and actively educate your staff on what you’re trying to achieve. A great way to do this would be workshops that involve active participation and two-way communication between you and the employee.

3. Connect the dots between them and you

Do you care about their personal goals as much as they’re expected to care about yours? When confronted with those awkward “pep” talks, employees will inevitably ask: “How important is this brand’s goals to me?”

And the ideal world is one where employees’ personal goals overlap with what you need for brand growth. That world promises synchronicity and an equal commitment to achieve both goals.

Once you’ve connected with your employees, you can introduce guidelines for brand engagement on social media (this is important because if they do something not so cool, you don’t want to scare them out of ever trying again).

You can also introduce tools that keep everyone in touch with your brand’s social mentions and create awareness about your industry in general. You can even feature your employees in social posts, they are, afterall, the heart and soul of your company. This way everyone feels part of the marketing team and they’ll also feel involved and needed as a contributor to your social media efforts.

Nike, for example, uses social media tools to keep everyone informed and each of their campaigns uses their employees as the subjects – Those feet wearing hot sneakers? Those are the feet of their very own employees proudly showing off their product.

I am the social media manager here at Karbonblack and I love sharing our posts, not only because I run the department and feel obligated but because I feel proud to work with the designers. These designers astound me with how they can visually create whatever concept I blurt out, often vaguely too.

In the next post, I’ll go into more detail about how you can implement brand engagement on different social media platforms.