Although your employer branding team needs a strong set of skills to craft the identity showcased to potential recruits and your existing workforce, the actions of your employees on the ground are just as important in propelling your employer brand forward.
A strong employer brand is more than just a mission statement and a list of employee perks. For it to be effective, it has to provide real value to employees, influence how people throughout the business think and work, and get staff invested in the business.
In order for an organisation to do this, brand ambassadors and advocates are important elements that must be considered.
The value of brand advocates
Every employee is a spokesperson for their employer, whether they realise it or not. People discuss their roles with friends and family, talk about their job on social media, and engage with customers every single day.
If an employee is one of the 89% of disengaged team members throughout the UK and Western Europe, these interactions can be negative, and cast their employer in an unflattering light.
However, if an employer brand aligns with the values and expectations of those in the office, these conversations can be more positive, and in turn, build an attractive image of the company as a place of work.
After all, while carefully constructed brand marketing campaigns can contribute to the strength of a corporate employer image, word of mouth is often regarded as a more effective form of promotion when compared to traditional paid media.
Beyond bolstering positive word of mouth for a company, brand ambassadors can bring about a number of benefits:
Improved brand awareness
Millions of people are exposed to several thousand adverts every single day. Thanks to the sheer saturation of content, standing out in front of potential candidates is difficult.
Brand ambassadors that share company content themselves can generate as much as 8 times more engagement than collateral shared by the company. Across the profiles of several advocates, a single post or job description can reach a significantly larger network.
Reduced cost to hire
Bringing aboard new talent is a costly expense for any business. As well as the initial salary and signing bonus, recruitment costs can quickly mount, bringing the average total somewhere in the region of £50,000 for a single hire.
By harnessing the power of brand advocacy, the marketing resources required to attract and engage target candidates can be significantly reduced, as data suggests that ambassador marketing generates an average ROI of 650%.
Attract top talent
The job market today is incredibly competitive. With the number of vacancies outstripping qualified candidates, businesses are struggling to fill vacancies as the fight for top talent continues.
To attract the optimal candidates, brand advocates can spotlight elements that job seekers value, such as company culture and work-life balance, within the content they publish.
How to develop a brand ambassador program
As a way of tapping the benefits that brand advocates can provide, it’s important to lay a framework that can empower the brand’s fiercest supporters.
Conduct an internal audit
An organisation can have dozens, hundreds, if not thousands of employees within its team structure. Without a grasp on who belongs where, and how each team interacts with which stakeholders, building an effective digital marketing strategy is impossible.
Imagine trying to approach a new campaign without an idea of who the audience is and how best to reach and engage with them.
As well as determining how teams communicate with specific audiences, it is also crucial to establish how a brand is perceived presently. There’s no use in establishing an advocacy program if none of the team feels compelled to share anything positive about the company publicly in the first place.
Gauging the health of an employer brand doesn’t have to be a lengthy and costly endeavor. As part of the audit, keep an eye out for the markers of a strong employer brand. While high employee retention and job offer acceptance rates are healthy traits, a constant flow of low-quality hires is a red flag.
Select the right advocates
Although it may be tempting to encourage as many people throughout the organisation to become brand ambassadors and elevate the company both online and offline, better results are often received when the most vocal supporters are cherry-picked.
While it’s true that a greater number of advocates will expose the employer brand to more people, giving anyone the green light to speak about the business through an associated channel can often do more harm than good.
All it takes is a single product inaccuracy or typo to negatively impact the brand and ruin an otherwise strong corporate image.
However, selecting the right people to vouch for an employer brand can be a tricky task. How can an enterprise pick a handful of workers amid a haystack of dozens, hundreds or even thousands?
- Start with employees who have a strong presence on social media. This could present an opportunity to massively widen the reach of collateral.
- Involve senior leaders who have several years of service. It’s likely these individuals will be very familiar with the brand and can make a positive impact.
- Hone in on social media savvy departments. Lots can go wrong if brand advocacy is mishandled, so opt for teams with a solid base of knowledge to work from.
Plan how to utilise employee voice
Once an audit has been completed and advocates are selected, it is important to plan how to utilise employee voices across all of the different departments.
Although a corporate tone of voice should be consistent throughout the entire enterprise, when bringing employee advocates on board to promote the business it’s important they do so in a way that’s natural to them and differs from the company channels:
- Forcing a completely new tone of voice on ambassadors can stilt their messaging and eradicate their credibility.
- Relying on a single tone of voice across multiple departments may alienate potential prospects.
That’s not to say that employees should run wild with their messaging – people looking in must be able to understand what brand an advocate represents, which is why it’s important to strike the right balance in terms of consistency.
By using the information gathered from the internal audit, brand guidelines should be tailored for each department. While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, it’s crucial that each team’s messaging aligns with the strategy and values of the business.
Establish an avenue of communication
With the stage set and a concrete foundation built to spotlight the voice of brand ambassadors, the next step is to establish reliable avenues of communication for workers.
To do this, ensure that advocates’ profiles are branded according to the company style guide and that their accounts are on platforms where prospects are likely to be.
Additionally, it is vital that ambassadors have access to branded visual elements. Without access to a centralised folder of approved assets, companies risk watering down their employer brand by relying on advocates posting unbranded content.
Delivering the sheer scale of on-brand content for brand ambassadors can seem like a massive commitment. However, by combining the findings from the internal audit with a dedicated Brand Activation Management solution, these tools can deliver tailored content at scale with ease.
Building a winning employee ambassador program doesn’t end here. From education to evaluation, empowering teams to act and keeping strategy on track requires ongoing effort.
Empower your advocates with BAM by Papirfly™
Brand ambassadors can be a powerful addition to the strength of your employer brand, especially for recruitment marketing. An effective and well-kept advocacy program can aid talent acquisition, lower the cost of hiring and enhance brand awareness.
However, to maximise these benefits, it is crucial to have an active and well-executed strategy. Establishing one takes time and resources that many brands may not have access to with their already stretched marketing budgets.
Using a dedicated Brand Activation Management software, such as BAM by Papirfly™, marketing teams can carry out their strategy without compromise by harnessing a suite of specialist brand building tools and features optimised for employer branding.
If you want to learn more about BAM or want to see our highly capable brand portal in action yourself, get in touch with our team today, or book a live demo.