Employees ARE the brand

[Notes from Shel Holtz’ session at SNCR New Comm Forum

What is “brand?” Who owns it? Brand is an aggregate of perceptions & feelings based on all previous experiences with a company. The fact is that employees are participating in social media in ways that affect your customers’ brand experience. Examples: Credit card employee responding unofficially to online forum about late fees; Hellmark facebook group for people who hated working at Hallmark.

Organizations should position employees to represent the brand online and contribute to creating positive brand experiences. How?

  • You don’t necessarily have to ask employees to blog. They can comment on others’ blogs. Empower employees to reach out to dissatisfied customers and help them. Every single employee has the potential to engage in customer service – not only those working in the call center.
  • Employee-generated content: Turn to employees to produce content you used to pay other companies to do. Example: Deloitte asked employees to produce videos about why it’s great to work there, then posted the best ones on YouTube.

Strategies for engaging employees in branding. Consider:

  • the role of internal communication – make sure they have the information they need and they understand the issues
  • the role of content “owners”
  • the role of management/leadership
  • policies on employee behavior & access