• Russ Fradin
    Russ Fradin on July 29, 2014

    Why Employee Advocacy Matters

    Employee advocacy is an emerging new marketing strategy where companies empower their influential employees to authentically distribute brand approved content, create original content, and in turn earn recognition and rewards for their activity and participation.
  • alexmoffit
    Alex Moffit on September 4, 2014

    John Doerr on OKRs and Goal Setting at Google and Intel [VIDEO]

    “Ideas are precious, but they’re relatively easy. It’s execution that’s everything,” says John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the man who introduced Objective & Key Results (OKRs) to Google. Google widely credits OKRs for helping the company grow from 40 to 40,000 employees. Other businesses including LinkedIn and Twitter have also embraced OKRs.
  • Greg Gerik
    Greg Gerik on September 16, 2014

    Shaking Up Social: Attending the Social Shake-Up in Atlanta

    Last year, the Social Shake-Up was one of the best social conferences to attend and this year promises to be even better. Here are a few of the hottest topics and sessions at the Shake-Up this year that are sure to deliver and drive this industry forward.
  • Brands Rising advises companies on creating a more authentic, impactful brand experience by implementing employee advocacy programs.

    September 15, 2014 - Susan Emerick, a trusted advisor to Fortune 500 brands, today announced the official opening of Brands Rising, LLC  The new consultancy was founded by Emerick in collaboration with partner Jeanne Murray, also a former IBM Business leader, to help brands create trusted relationships in social media.

    Brands Rising advises companies on creating a more authentic, impactful brand experience by implementing employee advocacy programs. Specifically, “These are programs central to a brand’s success, led by engaged employees who’ve earned trust and inspire advocacy. They’re built on analytics and valued for driving measurable business results at scale,” states Emerick.

    At its core, an employee advocacy program is about enabling an organization’s best brand ambassadors - its knowledgeable employees - to build trusted relationships with prospective and established customers through social media. “The ultimate goal for any employee program should be satisfied customers, shared expertise and an enlightened network of people who learn from each other,” says Murray.

    [[{"fid":"165346","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"brands rising logo","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"brands rising logo","style":"line-height: 1.538em; float: right; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; height: 193px; width: 225px;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Already established marketing experts and thought leaders, both Emerick and Murray became pioneering industry leaders in social media, and social business transformation, while working at technology giant IBM - where they first met. Emerick led the team responsible for the company’s social media strategy including social media listening and analytics, influencer, employee and brand engagement, social media governance and policy and measurement standards. (Emerick details lessons learned and best practices in her recent book, “The Most Powerful Brand on Earth,” published by Prentice Hall. Murray led customer engagement and employee collaboration efforts in the IBM Software Division, pioneering innovative internet projects including first-of-a-kind audience web marketing, social learning and social media measurement programs.

    “Most importantly, Susan and Jeanne are helping brands scale,” says Greg Gerik, Vice President of Industry Solutions for Shoutlet. “To truly scale a program, it isn’t enough to simply deploy technology. Effective programs must help employees build skills to engage and gain trust while managing risk, and use analytics to improve results - and to achieve this at scale is a constant challenge for even the most advanced companies.”

    Says Emerick, “We look forward to working with global brand leaders at all stages of the maturity curve. Brands Rising will offer the full range of services for clients interested in raising their brand’s impact, from strategy and planning, legal and compliance, education and training to performance measurement and quantifying ROI.”

    Contact information:

    susanemerick@brandsrising.com

    www.brandsrising.com

    @brandsrising

    LinkedIn: Brands Rising

    brands rising / shutterstock

    One of the hosts at today's Employee Advocacy Summit, Chris Boudreaux of EY and Social Media Today, hosted a panel with three employee advocacy program managers who all have successful programs at differing stages. The theme Chris maintained throughout the discussion was: "What's next?"
    One of the hosts at today's Employee Advocacy Summit, Chris Boudreaux of EY and Social Media Today, hosted a panel with three employee advocacy program managers who all have successful programs at differing stages. The theme Chris maintained throughout the discussion was: "What's next?"

    Here are notes from the "Taking Your Program to the Next Level" session at the Employee Advocacy Summit in Atlanta, GA on September 15, 2014.  This is one of a series of posts recapping the day and key comments from speakers and guests.

    SPEAKERS

    Chris Boudreaux
    Digital Strategy Executive, EY

    DeShelia Spann
    Digital Marketing Manager, Eaton

    Sabrina Stoffregen
    Director of Intel Ambassadors and Corporate Initiatives Marketing Manager, Intel

    Tammie Wagner
    Lead Internal Communications Consultant, AT&T

    NOTES

    "How are you thinking about taking your Employee Advocacy program to the next level?  What's next?"

    • "Trial and error."  Taking it from a program to a movement.  "Let go and let them lead." At first it may be scary, but it's the next step in terms of success and progression. - Sabrina Stoffregen
    • Start with a pilot program, but now we're ready to scale globally yet slowly.  However, before the program scales globally, you have to ensure the support mechanisms for the advocates can scale right along with it. - DeShelia Spann
    • "The honeymoon phase is over." When it starts to be open to a larger pool of employees, a general population, you may have to take a step back and do more research. - Tammie Wagner

    Where are you getting resources from for content/communications?

    • "Using the ambassadors we've recruited from across the company." - Sabrina Stoffregen
    • Find the stakeholders that will advocate for you as you move around the business with the program.  It grows organically. - DeShelia Spann
    • AT&T has a potential employee base of 80,000 employees for their advocac program.  To tap into the "social sellers" requires a lot of personal conversations and networking. - Tammie Wagner

    How do you keep advocates engaged?

    • You have to know your advocates.  Intrinsic over extrinsic. Collective and personal motivations such as people, events or technology is more effective than a gift card. - Sabrina Stoffregen

    What is the biggest thing you have not yet figured out?

    • Scale. - Sabrina Stoffregen
    • Going global. - DeShelia Spann
    • Leadership buy-in.  - Tammie Wagner
    Michael Brito of WCG helps teach employee advocacy program teams navigate the tricky road of content creation. He goes into many of the similarities and differences between personal content creation versus the process for the brand itself.

    Michael Brito of WCG helps teach employee advocacy program teams navigate the tricky road of content creation.  He goes into many of the similarities and differences between personal content creation versus the process for the brand itself. Here's a recap of his "Feed the Content Engine" session at the Employee Advocacy Summit in Atlanta, GA on September 15, 2014.  This is one of a series of posts recapping the day and key comments from speakers and guests.

    SPEAKER:

    Michael Brito
    Group Director, WCG, a W2O Company

    NOTES:

    One of the first questions asked at the Employee Advocacy Summit was about what to do about content after setting up an EA program: "What content are my employees going to use?"  Creating successful content for an EA program requires the ability to scale.  The following are key considerations for content planning, creation and sharing in an employee advocacy program.

    Content Operations

    Content operations are very hard to scale through email.  There is a need to invest in technology that functionally lets the brand and employees create and use/re-use content.

    What's In It for Brands?

    • Content creation
    • Influence over others
    • Improved morale
    • Innovation

    What's In It for Employees?

    • "Rock Star" Recognition
    • Access to exclusive content
    • Platform for sharing opinions

    There are two ways, Michael says, to allow your employees to be involved in "participatory storytelling."  First is brand amplification, which is when a core team creates content on behalf of employees and encourages them to share it on their own personal networks. This is the bare bones version.  Second is "brand journalism," which includes training and mobilization to empower employees to tell their own personal stories.

    Functional Steps to Take to Enable Content Creation

    The following steps, while totally applicable to employee advocacy, are not totally new ideas for brands.  Just as employee advocacy program goals may include improving  personal branding, the content creation process to do so is very similar to that of the brand itself.

    • Build centralized editorial team
    • Assign roles and responsibilities
    • Align the global workforce
      • While it may seem daunting to some, it is necessary to present a holistic picture, ensure quality and mitigate risk.
    • Train and mobilize employees
    • Optimize content supply chain
      • Put in controls for content review when necessary.
    At the Employee Advocacy Summit, Jim Dudukovich, a lawyer from The Coca-Cola Company, gave us a rare glimpse into the world where social media and law intersect. He brought simplicity and clarity to a number of issues that arise when planning an employee advocacy program.

    At the Employee Advocacy Summit this afternoon, Jim Dudukovich, a lawyer from The Coca-Cola Company, gave us a rare glimpse into the world where social media and law intersect. He brought simplicity and clarity to a number of issues that arise when planning an employee advocacy program.

    This is one of a series of posts recapping the day and key comments from speakers and guests.

    Speaker:  Jim Dudukovich, Senior Marketing, Digital & Social Media Counsel, The Coca-Cola Company

    When creating an EA program, there will be a wide variety of legal issues that are going to arise.  There are going to be issues with clear lines of distinction of what's possible for employees/employers to do, as well as those in a gray area.  HR, Comms, Legal, Marketing and more need to work together on clarity for advocates in the program.

    Legal Issues to Keep in Mind

    • Transparency
    • Factual accuracy
    • Honesty
    • Mandatory vs. optional
    • Protected activity

    Designing a Social Media Policy

    Social media policies can't be designed in a vacuum and can't be written it stone.  It's important to know going into creating it that it's going to change.  Don't let marketing write it alone.  Don't let legal write it alone.  Don't let HR write it alone.  A successful policy not only needs to be "instructive and comprehensible," but also a team effort.  The only thing that's worse than having no policy is having a bad policy.  It should lay out on a high level the things employees need to think about.

    "Go to the scene."

    You'll never learn everything you need to know about social media unless you're involved in it.  All departments that may be involved in creating a social policy or EA program, including legal, need to be well versed in social media.  There are complex issues that may arise from an EA program, so legal departments must have credibility with those involved in managing an EA program.

    "Advocate Stories From the Field," an Employee Advocacy Summit panel moderated by Susan Emerick, featured three passionate practitioners of employment advocacy. These were people who have been out in the field, creating employee advocacy programs at large and distributed companies. Each had a unique perspective to share about their own experiences, but shared a common passion about employee advocacy and the value it can create.

    Take a look at our reporting from the Advocate Stories From the Field panel at the Employee Advocacy Summit in Atlanta on September 15, 2014.  This is one of a series of posts recapping the day and key comments from speakers and guests. This panel, moderated by Susan Emerick, featured three passionate practitioners of employment advocacy. These were people who have been out in the field, creating employee advocacy programs at large and distributed companies.  Each had a unique perspective to share about their own experiences, but shared a common passion about employee advocacy and the value it can create.

    SPEAKERS:

    Susan Emerick
    CEO & Founder, Brands Rising, LLC

    Ben Brenneis
    Product Specialist and Sprint Product Ambassador, Sprint

    Mike Bruny
    Brand Ambassador

    Louis Richardson
    Storyteller & Enthusiast, Creativity Advocate, IBM

    Panel Overview

    • What's in it for the employee?  You need to contend with who to recruit and how to get them committed. - Susan Emerick
    • EA helped me network with people I would have never met before.  Executives actually listened to what we said and want, because they knew we were the voice of the company. - Ben Brenneis
    • After six years of working at Intel, EA allowed me for the first time to fall in love with Intel. - Mike Ambassador

    Top Benefits of EA Program

    • "Saved money."  You are also able to humanize the brand and products being brought to market.  - Mike Ambassador
    • Moving beyond PR: Employees' passion about Sprint and their job make it shift from a job to a career.  It's PR you cannot pay for. - Ben Brenneis
    • "Your people don't want to be your marketing shills! Let them share their personal experience and knowledge, not necessarily your brand's PR and marketing message." - Susan Emerick

    Most Important Piece of Advice for Employee Reward and Recognition

    • 1. Paying attention to what type of employees these advocates really are.  Being an advocate is not their 9-to-5 role.  2. Get to know them as people as well. - Mike Ambassador
    • Gamification techniques such as a belt system, avatars, points that go towards merchandise and lastly being empowered to show off technology at events on behalf of the company. - Ben Brenneis
    • Managers tend to lean on credentials, the way programs historically rewarded employees. It's best to let it go and run its course, without trying to manage too tightly. - Louis Richardson

    Stay tuned for more reporting from the Employee Advocacy Summit!