Identifying your brand advocates may seem like a pretty straightforward process – look for the most enthusiastic and positive employees who enjoy talking about your company culture and mission. Highly engaged employees are, of course, great candidates for your brand ambassador program, but don’t stop with the obvious choices. Building a well-rounded and impactful program will require a diverse collection of viewpoints to ensure an authentic and credible message, so it’s important to take a strategic approach to identifying your brand ambassadors. Your most passionate advocates can be found in some unlikely places.
Employees who feel strongly about your organization are bound to have intense opinions, and passion can sometimes be masked by an adversarial mindset. Take a look at high performers who boisterously express their opinions, even if those opinions are sometimes in contrast with your current agenda. Their motivations may be sincere – are they operating as brand protectors with the goal to safeguard the employment experience they hold dear? Or otherwise motivated to keep leadership thinking about what’s best for the organization? Dig deeper to learn more about these individuals. They make powerful advocates when their voice is aligned with your employer value proposition and can be real game changers in amplifying your employer brand.
It may seem counter intuitive to consider employees who have left your organization for your brand ambassador program, but in many cases former employees can make influential advocates. People move on for a variety of reasons but that doesn’t mean they don’t love your organization and what you do. An alumni constituent can provide significant credibility to your Brand Ambassador program since their opinions offer an unbiased view of life within your organization. There is no perceived incentive to embellish on their experience with your organization, which can sometimes be an assumption made of current staff acting as brand ambassadors. Former employees who believe in your employer brand will speak with a candid voice and lend genuine believability to your ambassador program.
Great brand ambassadors don’t always reveal themselves to you in a straightforward manner. Oftentimes, it’s the low profile employees that can have the most impact. Do you know who among your employees has a strong social media presence? Are there people on your team who blog about their line of work or their other interests? You might be surprised what you discover when you ask the right questions. Social media savvy employees will be more likely to mention you online, engage with you on social media channels and share your content. Find out who those individuals are within your organization.
Developing a brand ambassador program is a big investment of time and energy, so start small. Set yourself up for success by clearly defining what effective brand ambassadors look like within your organization and strategically seeking out those individuals who are truly passionate about your employer brand from their unique perspective. Cast a wide net to ensure you don’t overlook someone who could be your most enthusiastic advocate – they’re not always easy to spot.