“Your culture is your brand.” – Tony Hsieh.
Your employees are the individuals that know your company the best, love it and live it.
You probably won’t ask a dermatologist to assist you with your solar panel purchase, you would go to a recommended electrician or similar. Just like you trust a PV installer or electrician to give you honest feedback regarding solar power, society tends to trust a company’s employees the most.
This means that your employees are the most trusted sources of information about your products or services that you can get.
What is employee advocacy?
Employee advocacy is quite simply defined as ‘the promotion of your company by the people who work for it.’ As outlined in Edelman’s Trust Barometer Study, buyers trust your employees more than they do the marketing department, CEO, or company spokesperson when it comes to a purchase decision. We know by now that in most things, the people have the power. Employee advocacy has the power to raise brand awareness and create trust, which is one of the most important factors when it comes to the online world.
Yes, celebrities or influencers may have a significantly larger following, but your employees are perceived as more approachable and truthful, which is the key to a successful campaign.
Danielle Guzman, Global Head of Social Media and Distributed Content at Mercer says that “we tend to hear from brands themselves or senior leaders, who can be very scripted. It lacks that raw edge and authenticity that makes it feel like a regular conversation…”
One of the most well-known and inspiring examples of successful employee advocacy is Adobe’s Social Shift program. After setting up a social profile for Adobe’s CEO, Cory Edwards, Head of Adobe’s Social Business Centre of Excellence, realized how much power the Adobe employees’ social media activities have, with a direct impact on the company’s reach, talent acquisitions and revenue. Adobe was one of the first to acknowledge that the CEO doesn’t have to be the one and only champion for the company. They decided to implement a formal ambassadorship that educates the company’s employees on social media guidelines and best practices for social sharing.
This basically started a whole new conversation and allowed employees to post whatever they want from the employees’ perspective. You can find anything from behind the scenes photos, videos, employee interviews with each other, to blog posts featuring ‘ a day in the life of…’
“We wanted to make sure employees are given opportunities to become brand champions and tell the company’s story” says Nataie Kessler, Head of Employment Branding at Adobe. “That’s because building the employer brand and awareness means higher quality candidates.”
To get employees to take part in the Adobe Shift program, this video was created. And it worked. According to SociaLook, an independent employee social research group, Adobe’s employees are the most social group of employees among all tech companies.
So, while high quality content, social media reach and engagement can determine the success of your company, an advocacy program builds human relationships and trust, both internally and externally. In the online world we have found ourselves living in, people really are the voice and the future of a brand.