For all the marketing that you engage in for your customers, have you ever thought of what your employees think of your brand? Many organizations get one thing right – they sell their brand internally so that their employees become some of their biggest marketing tools. Employees collectively influence large social groups where they can either advocate or denigrate your brand name. Are you doing the right things to ensure that your employees think your brand is worthy? Let’s look at some examples.
IBM employees pride themselves in calling themselves ‘IBMers’. It is a great marketing strategy that IBM has successfully used to give their employees an identity. It embodies an inclusive culture with an excellent support structure that allows employees to learn from one another, without any global boundaries. A colleague who once used to work for IBM had told me, “Sametime Connect allowed me to connect to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It was encouraged and removed the formality of email. I always knew that if a colleague was online on Sametime Connect, I would definitely get a response within 2 minutes. No matter what position that person was in. That told me that we were really a collaborative organization.” Sametime Connect is an IBM chat program.
The Google brand boasts of providing its employees with the best campuses – complete with gourmet food, sports centres, relaxation areas and more. Brand Google desire to be synonymous with innovation shines through via its exemplary, and much touted, 20% timeout given to all employees. This means that all employees can spend 20% of their time on their own projects. This has led to many of Google’s innovations, such as Gmail, Orkut, Google Sky and many more!
The employee circle of influence
After a successful sale to your employees, your employees become your brand ambassadors. They share stories about new products and services to their friends, family and social network. Thus, they share your success in their circle of influence. Not only does this position your brand in their minds, but it also makes your organization an appealing place to work in.
How do you make it happen?
To sell your brand to your employees, you need to:
- First, decide what you want your employees to share about you. This will decide the kind of program you want to run. For IBM, one of their focus areas was collaboration, while for Google it was innovation.
- Imbibe the value you want to associate with your brand into everything you do. Ensure that your employees are given opportunities to live your brand values every day, like the examples we’ve talked about in this article.
- Allow your employees to share their experiences with their circle of influence. In 2012, Pepsi observed that more than 50% of its employees wanted to share news about Pepsi with their social networks. Give your employees news that they can share. Give them a chance to feel proud of where they work.
- Create occasions where employees’ families can see where they work and what they do. This could be done via parties, picnics or simply a ‘Get your family to work’ day.
Your employees are your internal customers who act as credible sources to your organization’s affairs. Selling your brand to your employees is the easiest way to earn goodwill and attain the right positioning.