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Employee advocates: the secret of trust

 

 

Guillem: Let me ask you a question, Nancy: Who you trust more, In a influencer you recommend a product or service, a convinced user, or the expert who created it thinking of you (Employee Advocate)?

Nancy: good question, Guillem. For me the ideal is the combination of "Brand lover "o"Brand advocate" with the most knowledgeable and expert of that product or service, what we know as the internal brand ambassador or "employee advocate”.

Guillem: For easier understanding about the different profiles, let's define better the motivations, behaviors and communication skills of each group of brand speakers.

If you do not have much time, We invite you to view a summary of this post on a one-minute video.

The three types of brand ambassadors

External brand ambassador 1: the influencer profile

You can represent a brand, always in exchange for financial remuneration. his communication range It is important, as they are often people with strong level of influence and with very large communities. They are attractive to brand. maybe his weakness is his lack of service or product. David Ogilvy said "the consumer is not stupid, is my wife", and consumers are increasingly better informed and to be convinced by someone solely because of their fame.

External brand ambassador 2: the brand lover or brand advocate

Unlike the previous, their motivation is the positive experience with the brand, product or service. They are convinced that is the best brand, recommend it naturally your friends, family, colleagues… They are gold for brands, sometimes they are not easy to identify because they use more word-of-mouth, and They do not always use social networks to project its recommendations. Their communities are small (compared with the influencer), but its credibility is high, and make more than influencers.

The employee advocate: In-company brand ambassador

It is the domestic brand ambassador. The internal brand ambassador is a professional profound knowledge Product or service. Is the technical expert, a profile that includes R & D, marketing, sales, production ... and who knows more than anyone the benefits of using the product or service. They are influencers qualitative and experts, their communities are small, but its ability to multiply the scope and "engagement" of corporate communication is proportionally the highest. Are nurses and hospital doctors, are the engineers and mechanics of a car model, It is the designer and the guide of a tourist route, He is the architect and real estate specialist retailer. About his technical knowledge, others for their knowledge of the motivations and needs of its customers.

Your first customers are indoors

So says Richard Branson: the first is the one who convinced tested and improved the product before releasing it to the market. Y that is the maximum transmitter public trust, above advertising, public relations, promotions. The person-to-person communication is unbeatable. And there is now the perfect ecosystem for an insider, a internal brand ambassador, contact a prospective client out, talk you, reassure, will ensure your decision.

El ebook “Employee Advocacy: The power of the brand ambassadors of the house "is here

Nancy: Guillem, What information gives us this free ebook we have worked together since Integra Personal Branding with you?

Guillem: after a Foreword and one introduction, We can get into the context which favors the implementation of programs Employee Advocacy, with clear statistics. Then they analyzed one by one advantage of these programs for professionals in the organization and the brand name of the organization. Follow the content program, in a workshop of between 12 and 16 Hours of duration. Analyzes key data on the ROI or return investment. And ends with the keys when, how, where and who you can implement programs.

Nancy: Plus is free, you need only subscribe this blog using this form. that subscription, Besides this free ebook, will provide in the coming months new content on specific cases, Training formats, Main applications monitoring and much more. If you're in America, Also you can subscribe to Blog Integra Personal Branding and you will receive the same free ebook.

ebook brand ambassadors

I subscribe to this blog and after confirming the subscription via email I will immediately receive the free download of the ebook "Employee Advocacy: The Power of in-House Brand Ambassadors" (in Spanish).”.

 

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Who it is best spokesperson, Does the employer or its people?

When we talk about the best spokesperson for an organization we often confuse. We think the best spokesperson is the person who holds that office. It is not like this. All professionals in an organization, from its leader to the fellow, are mouthpieces thereof.

The digital humanist Joan Clotet usually tell a story in formations that share personal brand. I had to take the place of his boss at a round table made up of various professionals from different companies. had just 25 years ago. A reporter approached him with the question what do you think Arthur Andersen…?

The anecdote reflects the importance and responsibility that comes with working for an organization, no matter how long you take or position held. We are all brand ambassadors.

Agree, but who is best spokesperson, the businessman / or its people?

My answer is: if you have done well, everybody. According Edelman, we believe less in management. But not because they offer less confidence, but some tend to be more opaque, more reluctant to tell what really happens in their organizations. Usually they go on the defensive, and often they play or manipulate data in the public domain. Hence it is that reputation unfairly won, since they do not just be attributed to all.

It makes sense that lower and intermediate profiles provide more confidence because they do not have to cheat, ni exaggerate. Technical and academic profiles offer much reliability, it is logical that an engineer knows more about a car that the company president.

However, portavocía the potential of middle managers or technical profiles is the great forgotten. A missed opportunity?

Why do not they want to voice their key people?

A few years ago I wrote an article entitled Soymimarca Your business does not give voice to key people?. At that moment (2011) few companies were aware of the importance of projecting his people. The main reasons were two powerful enemies: ignorance and fear.

repudiation

unfamiliarity, on the other hand, It was understandable. In 2011 very few companies had an internal social network. Many had access to social networks “castrated”. I must say that this figure has not improved too: according euro Firms, still today 60% companies limited access to social networks for their employees. That's ignorance of the potential of their people act as human and credible strengthening of its brands portavocía.

employees access RRSS

X-Employee Branding in Spain. 2017. euro Firms

In addition, there was little literature on employee advocacy, employer branding, and penetration of social networking company was still scarce.

Fear

I fear to break the status quo, to be different, to promote his people with the risk of being captured by competition. But it is said out there that there is something worse than train your people and go, and not to form it and stay. I moved in 2011 that a strong and positive image of an individual, by charisma, benefits the end image and confidence in the company and its brands.

The keys: mindset And training

The solution to this comes in two phases: awareness and implementation of training programs. And always in that order, and starting managers and then transferring it to the rest of the organization.

I usually do sessions mindset with executives, not carry more than two hours. Through a tour of the Falling effectiveness of traditional media, the benefits and ROI of project programs Employee Advocacy in the company and raised the features and routing them.

The next step is the formation, whose programs ranging from workshops from 8h to 16h other. Of course, There are also shorter formats, but are less Experiential.

 

Conclusion, any professional organization is the best spokesperson, managers offer greater understanding of the context, market and business, employees know best product and service. Only a 16% of companies they have initiated a program of this type in Spain. They are the ones who have decided not to be outdone. But 84% (according to Eurofirms) that makes it a priority objective of attracting employee advocacy external talent, what seems to me an error of order: first acts with your people, then with the market. How dice Arruda “your people are your brand”.

 

Photo by Apollo Reyes on Unsplash

 

Crisis and internal brand ambassadors, luxury reinforcement

Programs internal brand ambassadors (employee advocacy programs) They are often carried out as corporate branding reinforcement. But as I wrote in another post, one of the functions to take into account these programs is to help combat a crisis.

¿Crisis? Until now fear prevailed over the opportunity

Typically in business is to think that employees are can cause a crisis; theory half empty has been imposed to the half full. But today, you have to be blind not to see it with a contrary perspective: the (misnamed) employees are professionals committed to a project, excellent spokespeople and carriers of corporate values.

The challenge of a crisis (and all enterprises suffer) it is always easier when the defense has prepared beforehand. Organizations often have a crisis manual that usually have protocols and responsible for implementing Crisis.

But the manual has become outdated if you do not take into account the main factor of business confidence between the organization and the market: employees, people like us and technical experts and academics (view summary Edelman Trust 2017).

The secret: humanize brands and organizations

The idea is clear, people want to communicate with people, not by abstract entities such as companies or brands. That puts business professionals as the main drivers of trust. As paper and bits endure it all, rather illustrate a real example:

A crisis with Banco Sabadell

I manage my finances with Banco Sabadell since the demise of the Banca Jover, my former Trust Bank, on 1999. I have always tried to wonder. In 2013, nevertheless, I suffered an unexpected setback: wordlessly, I canceled a credit via burofax.

In fact, I never asked for the policy, They offered me insisting that it would cost if not used. After more than 10 years without using, on 2013 and different circumstances cash, I used. And it was then when it was canceled without notice.

I decided to act in the same way as the bank, and I published a post in this blog denouncing this practice surprising. logically, I shared the post on social networks.

The alert system online reputation Banco Sabadell quickly detect the possible crisis that could arise. Two minutes to issue the tweet, el community manager, from their own staff, He asked me "follow back" to send a direct message. I asked in a phone message. They did not pass 10 minutes to give the phone when I contacted the bank branch manager apologizing for the error, a communication error.

It seems that the bank had no intention to cancel the policy arbitrarily. What happened is that there was a change in the interest rate, and they forgot to communicate it. By failing to respond, CRM understood that I was not interested to continue with the policy, and the rest is the burofax.

Obviously, the policy was restored and everyone is happy. A few days later I removed the post.

What I can say is that I had not responded to a tweet issued by Banc Sabadell. I did it because he addressed me a person like me, with name, surname and soul.

My current relationship with Banco Sabadell is not only good but, By life things, I've even given talks to some of its directors working with the team content.

Bidirectional communication or death

This example highlights the importance of avoiding at all costs one-way communication that still prevails -Unfortunately- in many organizations.

Like people, companies can make mistakes, but they can not respond with a bot to something that affects the values ​​and beliefs of a person, and less in a crisis situation. The bot can be helpful as a first ultra-fast response "in a few moments a professional of our company will contact you". But after peer communication is required to equal. And here comes the role of the professional as an ambassador and spokesperson for the brand.

Assign responsibilities and protocols crisis

With the above I do not mean that all responsibility is placed on employees to resolve a crisis. Obviously there is a communication department that is who should take charge of the matter.

The employee acts here as reinforcement reinforcement brings credibility and confidence. Crisis under special measures required. It is time to show that all companies are human and that companies are the sum of the people who support them.

Image: Shutterstock.com

Brand Ambassadors… Are outside or internal?

You are CEO of a company. You have to make a decision:

1. Betting on external brand ambassadors
2. Pour the rest by internal ambassadors

I raised this question a few days ago from Linkedin, and the responses I got seemed enriching, so I think the result is well worth a reflection on this post.

Before analyzing the responses and drawing conclusions, it is worth pausing to define what it means brand ambassadors external and internal.

What are the external brand ambassadors?

This group consists of two profiles, the influence external and brand advocate. Translated, speak of those who can exert a positive influence on temporal and brand (influencers) and fans of the brand satisfied customers or (brand advocates).

Influencers

At the same time, the influencers They may be celebrities (famous people) or experts. The first provide quick reach of the message, large audiences, and regulate credibility. Experts provide a slower communication range, specialized audiences and full credibility.

External influencers, both famous and experts, They are hired on a temporary basis (bells) by brands to represent them.

Brand advocates

You can try to satisfied customers it 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 satisfies them enough to repeat the process of buying and prescribing. Marketers are known as “fans of the brand”.

Key partners, meanwhile, representing the balance of prescribers of a brand. Usually they located in the same ecosystem: providers, contributors, administration, professional associations, trade press, relatives of employees,…

The brand advocates They are not hired, are fidelizados, convinced, and therefore support, albeit temporary, It can be durable based on experience.

What are domestic brand ambassadors?

Obviously, This is the professional organization. This group may consist of three parts: President and CEO, the management team and the group of employees (hateful expression, But that you may know me).

CEO internal brand ambassador

The head of an organization should be its most effective and credible spokesman, at least in theory. In practice, It is not like this. Not me, that year after year is reflected in the confidence survey Edelman Trust. It is difficult to know the reason for the disagreement, in which multiple factors undoubtedly, but it is there, and it is serious.

On the one hand many CEOs do not see essential act as spokespersons and delegate the function. On the other many CEOs they are still living in the environment 1.0, more effective but less open than 2.0.

The head of an organization should practice example and be a mirror for their teams. If it is a bad communicator, the organization of this virus is contagious.

The management team

Steering committees and management teams are not spared from the low confidence generated. According to the same study Edelman, and to put it mildly, they need to improve.

A more transversal leadership style, open and communicative can be a good antidote, but from theory to practice there is a stretch.

Employees as generators of confidence

No one speaks with a company, with an organization, with a mark; We talk to people. Traditional communication techniques (public relations, media advertising, promotions,…) become less effective because those who communicate with us, who tries to persuade, It is an abstract entity (brand, product, service, company).

From the time we are able to humanize the brand through people who move, connect. Rue clearly it says “your people are your brand” (your people are your brand), and the people, in the end, people trust.

And there it is again Edelman study is to demonstrate that employees, people like us (peers) and technical experts are the profiles that generate greater confidence (in fact, They are the ones who approve).

Why? because the messages of employees or peers They're not here marketinianamente sweetened. Mechanic workshop cars do not fool with the same ease as the manager of the workshop regarding the benefits of a machine.

The answers

View of the foregoing considerations, and clarified what, In my opinion, they are brand ambassadors, Understanding the Answers (first come first served):

  • Jose Ignacio Czech Cenoz, marketing consultant
    I not think it's a matter of choice but of complementing the two actions. The first serves to project the company outwards with a more commercial approach and the second to attract interest from outside to the values ​​of the company through employee, managers, etc…
  • Carmen Herrada, vice-president of large organization
    I agree that 2 options should be complementary, but given the choice I prefer internal brand ambassadors. I've known companies with the best celebrities as brand ambassadors… internal team then burned with the company… As the world is evolving give priority to the option 2.

    • Jose Ignacio Czech Cenoz
      Carmen Herrada, I agree with the hue. The problem with the internal customer is activating its ability to mobilize and reach an audience that is usually more limited.
  • Davinia de Leon Martin, Technical product
    For sure, internal ambassadors. They are the real and reliable.
  • Eduard Perez-Mañanet Lozoya, digital marketing manager
    A mix would be best. But if you must choose an option according to the example, the best is bet on internal ambassadors.
  • Sanchez-Ocaña Alejandro Suárez, CEO of publishing company
    A 3: That your customers become your best ambassadors.
  • Jose Antonio Quesada, Global project manager in IT company
    It depends on the company strategy and the context of it. A priori, the best ambassadors of your brand your customers should be followed by your employees, and then thirds, but it will always be very relative, and conditioned on strategy.
  • Navy Sabaris, health professional
    In my humble opinion a mix would be yours, but if you have to choose one option, I stay with internal ambassadors. Without a doubt.
  • Rosendo Hernández Rubio, Professional insurance sector, teaching and blogger
    It seems that wins the second option, which would confirm a recent tweet from that shared Guillem it is post. Vale: post speech that are preferred influence the famous and both are external ambassadors. But, in the same publication, we read about the dark side of marketing influencers, the value of comments other consumers and the advantages of internal brand ambassadors. Of those 3 readings, I conclude that the best “influence” It is the anonymous who knows the company or the product, that is, a company worker.
  • … Y, because you have to take the rest by internal ambassadors, the CEO must assume that he has to be the first ambassador. A CEO who “Of the face” by your company to the public and to encourage their example employees in that work. In my industry (insurance), we are living and we do not usually noted for point us to the latest craze, so the effectiveness of internal ambassadors will be more than proven.
  • Fernando Duarte Merelo, director of vocational training agency
    “Talk about you, even bad” Oscar Wilde. That is to say, anything goes.
    The foreign ambassadors only if they are customers-apostle, the rest are mercenaries, and because inmates have to be included in the fixed salary.
  • Mario Villar, CEO and founder of enterprise web apps & mobile
    How many and which broadcast quality They have on each side?
  • Like Xavi, CEO audiovisual company
    In my case, I am looking for option 2, and as stated above, THE CLIENTS!
  • Juan Rodriguez Talavera, expert on digital analytics
    workers, always. Your happiness depends on the customer ?
  • Nacho Jimenez Delgado, Communication Consultant
    A 4: a mix employee / external / client.
  • Jordi Sabat, online video industry entrepreneur
    Among the options that you raise, the 2. Although Alejandro Suarez proposed Sanchez-Ocaña I think the most appropriate

some conclusions

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

The paradox is that everyone is right. Although there is a majority opinion in favor of internal brand ambassadors, the idea of ​​using also-according to brand strategy- the external one has considered.

I would say there mentioned aspects that deserve discussion, one is the Carmen Herrada when referring to external messengers can “burn” internal teams.

Rosendo Hernández is the importance of the CEO as the first portavocía, without which whatever comes next will have little validity. I agree.

  • The 77% consumers are more predisposed to buying from a company whose CEO uses social networks (Source: MSLGroup)

few months ago, CEO of the Energy Sector had a bad role in a crisis about a deceased person because of energy poverty. Although the company invests millions of euros in advertising, His words carried the reputation of the company to a lamentable stadium.

Mario Villar establishes a direct relationship with your question between quality and quantity of dissemination of each stakeholder. reasonable question. Invest one million euros in a campaign with a celebrity can not be compared to investing 100.000 euros in training 200 internal ambassadors.

In any case, something is happening. The effectiveness of traditional media is declining. According to the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, only 33% buyers trust in brands. On the other hand, the 90% customer trust recommendations of products or services people who know.

Employee Advocacy, the solution

The employee advocacy programs, or programs to promote domestic brand ambassadors, is a cross solution affects direction, communication, HR. and sales.

Not just about turning employees spokespersons, seeks to improve the internal climate, to improve trust between managers and teams, in digital form and communication skills (soft skills).

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

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

Image by Shutterstock.com

No social employee without social enterprise (The IBM case)

No social employee without social enterprise. Thus concluded the article The rise of social employee the company that published a few days ago in Soymimarca and Linkedin simultaneously.

Companies still suspicious of this figure of the social employee. Sometimes ignorance, sometimes for fear. Perhaps for that reason I would like to work with data and a case that will help you gain confidence. Today I present one that amply justifies the ROI and gives strength to the title: “No social employee without social enterprise”.

Creating social culture: The IBM case

When success stories around the concepts of social employee and strategies are analyzed Employee Advocacy, IBM always appears in the top. Here's why.

What exactly is the Employee Advocacy

The definition that best fits what I think it is Employee Advocacy is that of the specialist Susan Emery: Brands that empower employees to support brand objectives, using content and social networks employees themselves. If I have mistranslated, Here is the original: brands empowering employees to support the goals of the brand, using content and employee-owned social.

Why brands should work with programs Employee Advocacy?

We know that the Employee Advocacy It is the way to more quickly and efficiently boost growth engagement mark. I have spoken many times about the trust status between businesses and consumers. Thanks to the annual study Edelman Trust, we know that markets rely on their experts and employees more than anyone in a company.

Edelman Trust Confianza 2017 / guillemrecolons.com

Source: Edelman Trust. Translation: Guillem Recolons

The same study reveals that employees score higher as influencers communication 4 guys at 5 categories, including Engagement, Integrity, Products and Services and Operations. Not bad, true?

Measures or let it run

All program Employee Advocacy It must be measurable, you have to prove their value and results. Without that the company does not have the necessary resources for investment.

And here it is worth considering financial and non-financial. The former seek to increase revenue or decrease costs, and the latter refers to benefits such as increased productivity, improving operational efficiency and reducing marketing cycle.

So, not enough to set goals, you also need to determine how to measure and report progress.

IBM is a leader as a social enterprise, a brand committed to the promotion of transformation, which facilitates open collaboration and participation of employees

Colleen Burns, director IBM's Influencer Engagement Team, He shared the conviction that IBM employees are one of the largest sources of influence. Los IBMers (so employees call themselves), play a critical role in helping to set the agenda, and build and cultivate relationships.

The program IBM Redbooks Thought Leaders Social Media Residency It is a great example. It was designed to create a network of blogs on leadership and help motivate IBM technicians to establish their your personal brand social. Since its inception in 2011, the 200 Program participants have created about 2.000 blogs 11 different topics. In fact, their 800 publications have accumulated more than one million visits and follow up.

He programs selected by IBM

It is a program designed to identify qualified experts to support social strategies aligned with market priorities. That allowed tag links and track the input references personal blogs. This program has quantitatively and surpassed traditional marketing tactics paid media, Demonstrating that digitally experts who support the brand can achieve a conversion rate 33%.

The power of employee advocacy in IBM

Source: susanemerick.com

incredible figures: Alone 200 IBM professionals managed Share 146.000 content. These contents generated 188 million impressions (view content). And these impressions got over 600.000 clicks to the web, something that would have cost paid advertising 300.000 and 1.200.000 Dollars.

Still you are doubting the power of Employee Advocacy?

From the book “The Social Employee” (Cheryl & Mark Burguess, McGraw Hill 2014) this infographic shows the results of a study that prompted IBM to know the state of social technologies in organizations. 1.16o business and IT professionals analyzed.

IBM computer graphics from the book The Social Employee

Excerpted from the book "The Social Employee" Cheryl & Mark Burguess, McGraw Hill 2014 / Guillem Recolons translation

Conclusion, despite business confidence, these programs get boost the social employee with a clear objective: promote the brand from a humanized source, connector, and transmitting confidence.

Cover image by shutterstock.com

Values ​​and branding, new ammunition organizations

I am aware that the values ​​and branding are not new concepts in corporate organizations.

CSR values ​​and were introduced in the mid-force 90 in the corporate culture of many companies, especially those that may suffer major problems arising from their own activity (oil, energy, telecommunications…).

Looking back is not difficult to conclude that these first steps did not give mere altruism but as a mechanism of compensation for damage caused to society by the organizations themselves.

Values ​​are the lifeblood of enterprises

The core values ​​give companies, There's no doubt. If we scan the network for corporate statements today we will see how few companies that have not listed their corporate values ​​as part of their DNA. We could transfer that same idea to marks.

However, I am convinced that part of the process has failed and the idea of ​​values ​​and branding does not reach the markets, does not reach people.

Errors in the process of branding

Construction processes and brand development are still excessively guided from the direction and with little or no participation of internal professionals (I am sorry, the word “employees” I seem archaic and disrespectful) and external.

What sense does that stakeholders involved in creating a brand?

It is a matter of humanization own brand, and therefore connection.

Imagine that a committee of the company has decided that the values ​​of a brand pillars are the innovation, respect for difference, reliability and consistency. Surely you have not chosen randomly, but considering the one hand the needs of markets and other characteristics of products or services including.

But imagine that these values ​​can add the people who make up the group of managers, professionals, contributors, shareholders, and why not- customers. Those people proficiently, As indicated by branding expert Ivan Diaz, guys at brand culture.

So, new values ​​associated with the brand environment will add to the 5 pillars values, values ​​and could be very “humans”, as nonconformity (creativity), empathy, assertiveness, the culture of effort, flexibility, the goodness,… Is not it rich?

The combination of values ​​in the process of branding a company can turn into big brands and their emotional connector stakeholders in passionate Ambassadors brands.

“Employee” and “human Resources”, two expressions that need to evolve

If we look for synonyms for “employee” find words “used”, “used”, “spent”, “served”, “managed”… inspiring? Can anyone feel proud to be used or worn?

“Human Resources” It does not escape the cacophony: Do humans are mere resources? Would not it be contrary, companies are the resource for the expression and talent development?

Not easy to find consensus options, not even for “employees” not even for “human Resources”. In the first case, I prefer to call them professionals (as opposed to entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs), even without being convinced. In the case of “human Resources” I read with increasing frequency “human capital”, “People Management”, “talent management”, but I lack the component that speaks to connect, to build bridges between an organization and its brands, People and markets. I leave it there. If you have any ideas, I hope that will not blow away and share.

Values ​​and branding need to go hand in hand. Their alliance will undoubtedly be the best ammunition organizations, because both values ​​are part of branding people.

Picture of Shutterstock.com