Brand ambassadors… External or internal?

You're CEO of a company. You have to make a decision:

1. Betting on external brand ambassadors
2. Throw the rest out for the internal ambassadors

I raised this question a few days ago since Linkedin, and the answers I got seemed enriching, so I think the result well deserves a reflection in this post.

Before analyzing the responses and drawing conclusions, worth stopping to define what external and internal brand ambassadors mean.

What are external brand ambassadors?

This group consists of two large profiles, The influencer external and the brand advocate. Translated, we would talk about those who can exert a temporary and positive influence on the brand (influencers) and satisfied customers or brand fans (brand advocates).

Influencers

At the same time, The influencers can be celebrities (famous people) Or Experts. The former provide a quick reach of the message, large audiences, and regular credibility. Experts provide a slower reach of communication, specialized hearings and total credibility.

Outside influencers, both famous and expert, are hired on a temporary basis (Campaigns) by brands to represent them.

Brand advocates

It can be about satisfied customers or key partners. Satisfied customers are arguably the best means of communication, credibility and trust that can represent a brand. They have lived the brand experience and are satisfied enough to repeat the purchase process and prescribe it. In marketing they are known as “fans of the brand”.

Key partners, for its part, represent the other prescribers of a brand. They are usually located in the ecosystem of the same: Suppliers, Collaborators, Administration, professional colleges, sectoral press, employee family members,…

The brand advocates they're not hired, they're loyal, Convinced, and that's why their support, but temporary, can be durable based on experience.

What are internal brand ambassadors?

Obviously, it's about the professionals from an organization. This group can be composed of three parts: The President or CEO, the management team and the collective Employees (hateful expression, But to understand me).

CEO as an in-house brand ambassador

The ultimate representative of an organization should be its most effective and credible spokesperson, at least in theory. In practice, it's not like that. I don't say it., that is reflected year after year in the study of trust Edelman Trust. It's hard to know the reason for that dismember, where multiple factors are undoubtedly involved, But it's there, And it's serious.

On the one hand many CEOs do not see the essential to act as spokespersons and delegate the role. On the other, many CEOs continue to live in the environment 1.0, more effective but less open than 2.0.

The highest representative of an organization must practice by example and be a mirror for their teams. If you're a bad communicator, the organization will get that virus.

The management team

Management committees and management teams are not spared the lack of confidence they generate. According to the Edelman study itself, and to put it mildly, they need to improve.

A more cross-cutting leadership style, open and communicative can be a good antidote, but from theory to practice there's a stretch.

Employees as trusted generators

Nobody Speaks with a company, with an organization, with a brand; we talk to people. Traditional communication techniques (public relations, media advertising, Promotions,…) lose efficiency because whoever communicates with us, who's trying to persuade us, it's an abstract ente (Brand, Product, Service, Company).

From the moment we are able to humanize the brand through the people who move it, Connect. Rue says it clearly “your people are your brand” (your people are your brand), and people, after all, we trust people.

And there it is again is Edelman study to show that employees, people like us (peers) and technical experts are the profiles that generate the most confidence (In fact, they're the only ones who approve).

Why? because employee messages or peers they're not marketinianly sweetened. The mechanic of an auto shop will not fool you as easily as the workshop manager about the goodness of a machine.

The answers

Given the previous considerations, and clarified what, in my opinion, are brand ambassadors, let's look at the answers (on a first-come, first-served basis):

  • Jose Ignacio Cenoz Checa, marketing consultant
    I don't think it's a matter of choice but of complement the two actions. The first serves to project the company abroad with a more commercial approach and the second to attract interest from the outside towards the company's values through employees, Managers, Etc…
  • Carmen Herrada, vice-president of great organization
    I agree that 2 options should be complementary, But positions to be chosen I stay with the internal brand ambassadors. I've met companies with the best celebrities as brand ambassadors… and then the internal equipment burned with the company… Just as the world is evolving, it would prioritize the choice 2.

    • Jose Ignacio Cenoz Checa
      Carmen Herrada, I agree with the nuance. The problem with the internal client is to activate their mobilization capacity and their audience reach that is usually more limited.
  • Davinia de León Martín, product technician
    Undoubtedly, internal ambassadors. They are the most real and reliable.
  • Eduard Perez-Mañanet Lozoya, digital marketing manager
    A mix would be best. But if you have to choose an option according to the example, the best thing is betting on internal ambassadors.
  • Sanchez-Ocaña Alejandro Suárez, CEO of publishing company
    The 3: that your Customers become your best ambassadors.
  • Jose Antonio Quesada, global project manager at IT company
    It will depend on the company's strategy and the context of the company. A priori, the best ambassadors in your brand should be your customers followed by your employees, and then third parties, but it will always be very relative, And conditioned on the strategy.
  • Mariña Sabaris, healthcare professional
    In my humble opinion a mix would be his thing, but if you have to choose a single option, I stay with the internal ambassadors. Without a doubt.
  • Rosendo Hernández Rubio, professional safe industry, teacher and blogger
    Looks like he's winning the second option., which would confirm a recent Guillem tweet that he shared this post. Ok: the post talks about the preference influencer to celebrities and both are external ambassadors. But, in the same post, we read about the dark side of influencer marketing, the value of comments other consumers and advantages of internal brand ambassadors. Of those 3 Readings, I conclude that the best “influencer” is the anonymous who knows the company or the product well, I mean, A company worker.
  • … And, because you have to throw the rest out for the internal ambassadors, the CEO must assume that he has to be the first ambassador. A CEO who “face” for your company to the public and to encourage employees by example in that work. In my sector (insurance), we're living it and we don't usually stand out for aiming for the latest madness, so the effectiveness of internal ambassadors will be more than proven.
  • Fernando Duarte Merelo, director of vocational training agency
    “Let them talk about you, even if it's wrong” Oscar Wilde. I mean, everything is worth.
    The external ambassadors only if they are clients-apostle, the rest are mercenaries, and inmates have to be because it's included in the fixed salary.
  • Mario Villar, CEO and founder of web app company & Mobile
    How many and what quality of dissemination have on each side?
  • Xavi Same, CEO at audiovisual company
    In my case, I bet on the Option 2, and as they've said before, CUSTOMERS!
  • Juan Rodriguez Talavera, digital analytics expert
    Workers, Always. Your happiness depends on that of customers ?
  • Nacho Jiménez Delgado, Communication Consultant
    The 4: A mix employee / External / Client.
  • Jordi Sabat, entrepreneur online video industry
    Among the options you make, The 2. Although the one proposed by Alejandro Suárez Sanchez-Ocaña seems to me the most suitable

some conclusions

This is not a quantitative study, but opinions and opinions are more than respectable.

The paradox is that everyone is right.. Although there is a majority opinion favorable to internal brand ambassadors, the idea of also using - and according to the brand strategy- externalists are taken into consideration.

I would say there are commented aspects that deserve debate, one is that of Carmen Herrada when it comes to external ambassadors being able to “Burn” to internal teams.

Rosendo Hernandez treats the importance of the CEO as a first spokesman, without which what comes next will have little validity. I agree.

  • The 77% consumers are more willing to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media (Source: MSLGroup)

A few months ago, a CEO of the energy sector played a bad role in the face of a crisis around a person who died from energy poverty. Although the company invests millions of euros in advertising, his words brought the company's reputation to a pitiful stadium.

Mario Villar establishes a direct relationship with his question between the quality and quantity of dissemination of each stakeholder. Reasonable question. Investing a million euros in a campaign with a celebrity cannot be compared to investing 100.000 euros in training with 200 internal ambassadors.

In any case, something is happening. The effectiveness of traditional communication is becoming less. According to the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, only the 33% buyers trust brands. Instead, The 90% customers rely on the recommendations of products or services from people they know.

Employee Advocacy, the solution

The employee advocacy, or programs to promote internal brand ambassadors, is a cross-cutting solution that affects direction, Communication, Rr. Hh. sales.

It's not just about turning employees into spokespersons, tries to improve the domestic climate, improving trust between managers and teams, to train in digital and communication skills (soft skills).

The most important thing is to understand that it not only carries advantages for the organization, also for the employee and the market.

Dare to give your opinion about the doubts raised. There are few unanswered questions.

Image by Shutterstock.com

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About me Guillem Recolons

Convinced that everything leaves a mark, I help companies better connect with their stakeholders through personal branding programs (personal brand management) and employee advocacy (programs of branded internal ambassadors).

Soymimarca Partner, Integrates Personal Branding and The Human Branding, I also collaborate with Ponte en Valor, Brandergizers, MoreThanLaw, Noema Consulting, AdQualis and QUIFER Consultants.

I participate in various programs at IESE, ISDI and EAE, UPF's Social Media Graduate and UVIC, among others. Collegiate advertising, Master in Marketing. Humanities Degree Student.

My advertising DNA comes from 20 years in agencies: Time/BBDO, J.W.T., Bassat Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Altraforma and TVLowCost among others.

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5 thoughts on "Brand ambassadors… External or internal?”

  1. Very interesting Guillem. I didn't see the article on Linkedin and I couldn't comment on it.. I come from the health sector, I always insist that those people who work in companies, as in the case of healthcare where they must wear company uniform, you should be aware that wherever you go, should be, even more, good ambassadors of the company as they carry the brand “in tow” and represent their values and image wherever they go. Healthcare professionals dressed in white smoking at the door of health centers, do a disaggs favor to the health facility they represent. We just talked about this issue a couple of weeks ago., we held on #comunicación in the #EmpresaSaludable attended by HR managers, marketing and PRL. Communication is transmitted over many channels, not only through marketing campaigns and RRSS. Spaces that communicate, people who communicate, behaviors that communicate… everything influences your brand.
    Best regards :)

    Reply
    • How right are you, Marta! All the people who work for a company or brand are their ambassadors. And being an ambassador carries a responsibility. The case you review of healthcare professionals smoking is clearly a “anti-branding” transmitting values that are contrary to corporate values. And just in case this wasn't enough, today we know that professionals pass more confidence to markets than advertising or public relations. Thank you for writing!

      Reply

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