Employees are vital for building and scaling brand relationships. They have the distinction of being trusted ambassadors of the brand because of their uniquely "insider" standing. Employee advocacy programs can facilitate the cultivation and delivery of the deliberate and wonderfully shareable experience you want your customers to talk about.
To wrap our heads around how to activate employees as builders of brand relationships, it's important to understand the employee-brand relationship from the angle of the employee's experience. Customer Experience Management (CEM) focuses on the customer's emotional journey, where-as, Employee Experience Management (EEM) should focus on the deliverer of the brand experience. How do employees experience and translate the organization?
Illustrated in my Employee-Brand Relationship Model are the stages of the employee's emotional journey. First there may be hesitation or fear of saying something wrong. Most likely, this stems from a lack of training or understanding of the company social media policies or lack of encouragement by the employer to be involved through social media. By creating an advocacy program and proper training for your workforce, you are empowering your employees and giving them a voice. This has the awesome bonus of giving them the feeling that they are making a difference. The company's success is now partly in their hands, and this type of positive engagement fosters loyalty and ultimately job satisfaction.
Everyone wants to feel good about what they do. Everyone wants to feel like they matter as individuals, and everyone wants to feel like they make a difference. This is basic psychology. The fastest way to discourage and dishearten another human being is to make them feel insignificant. People desire to be seen. Employee advocacy programs even the playing field and allow the possibility of success for anyone in your company.
As an organization, your brand objectives through these stages are to provide the leadership and training that will allow you to harness the power of successfully activated employee advocates. You will need to strategize and focus on giving them great content to share, realizing that the whole organization serves as the foundation for brand position and activation.
Infographic credit: SOCIAL INTEL with Denise Holt | DeniseHolt.com