For those wanting and needing more clients/customers/patients, I am often asked about one of two things: advertising and business development outreach. The immediate gratification of foot traffic that can come from "Sale Ends Soon!" is tempting. Pulling in potential business with Special Events can show results you not only can count but with whom you can personally build your brand. Executing a well-planned external marketing program is certainly important but too often I find clients who have not capitalized on or even created an internal one. The strongest brands were not built by marketing departments alone. Who are your front-line brand ambassadors -- your employees! If you are not inspiring your staff -- all of them -- you are missing out. Building your internal brand will take time, effort, and some investment but the benefits are well worth it.
Before you expect them to deliver your brand promise, are you certain everyone knows what it is? Do they understand and believe in what your organization stands for and what makes it unique? Have you created a culture where everyone has a sense of worth and has trust in its leadership. Your most engaged employees, regardless of their title, can provide valuable input and support for onboarding the rest. By encouraging participation and sharing knowledge with your direct, honest engagement, you build trust that is essential for employee buy-in. Not only are you creating brand ambassadors to grow revenue, you save HR costs with limited turnover. You attract higher quality potential brand ambassadors that can sustain a formal program.
Why create a formal brand ambassador program? Keeping employees up-to-date with the latest content/product/service enhancements can benefit existing clients and well as prospective ones. The more they know combined with promoting their self discovery creates a personal identity more important than robotically repeating the corporate one. Ambassadors need to present authentic best selves, applying their unique skills to the corporate goals so they can share what resonates with them. Consider a staff meeting discussion followed up with an email highlighting social content to click and share. One step further, perhaps an award for the most active champions of your brand. With time, consistency and commitment, you can build a front-line so successful that maybe traditional advertising can take a back-seat.
What is making your organization the best _____________ on earth? Please share what keeps you committed to caring and sharing.