In a compelling TED talk given back in 2009, entrepreneur and speaker Simon Sinek outlines “The Golden Circle” of commerce. The central concept is that “people don’t buy ‘what’ you do. They buy ‘why’ you do it.”
The talk hammers home the observation that reputation is one of the most critical things to a company that doesn’t come from the product or service, and that it also has the biggest impact on customer loyalty.
Who holds the keys?
What do your employees say about your company when they’re not at work?
Hopefully it’s good, because according to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, it might have a significant impact on your brand’s reputation.
When asked, survey respondents said they “want to hear from employees more than any other spokesperson” at any given organization, citing the belief that employees are among the most trustworthy in matters of business practices and how crises are handled. In fact, it showed that employees had the upper hand “by a 48 percent to 24 percent margin” when it came to a very important issue: treatment of employees and customers.
The results of this study, combined with the Golden Circle model, illustrate that employee influence has enormous power over the company’s reputation in the eyes of the very people who keep your business afloat.
But how can you unlock your employees’ potential as an advocate for the organization? We’ve got a couple ideas.
Give employees the mic
The best way to raise up your employees’ voices as advocates is by giving them the floor. They’re in the trenches every day, working with clients, creating content and crunching numbers. They’re the in-house subject matter experts. Giving them a voice on the company channels can be incredibly empowering, and it shows your audience that your organization stands behind them.
Do you have a company blog? A Medium profile? A LinkedIn Pulse page?
Ask your employees to contribute! Have them wield their employee influence on a topic they’re interested in. Encourage them to express themselves regarding an industry topic important to them. Let them grow to understand a topic that’s been a little murky for them.
By giving them the opportunity to learn something new and share what’s important to them, you’ll also give your audience strong insights (and a boost in web reputation), right from the horse’s mouth.
Create content about them
Brewer Science is one of our favorite clients. They’re in a very challenging industry and are willing to try several different things when it comes to their content.
A few months ago, we started helping them publish a series of “People Blogs.” In each of these blogs, we highlighted an individual at the company, what their role entails and what other interests or skills they have. Nothing groundbreaking, just a small feature. But the results have been outstanding.
Social performance (organic reach and engagement) on these posts are markedly higher than some of their other content, and that’s certainly a win. Additionally, we heard from Brewer Science that the highlighted individuals have felt great about being featured in the company blog, confirming that they’re an asset to the team.
With a little help from Brandpoint, Brewer Science has created wonderful stories for their audience about the people that make the magic happen: their employees.
Whether you’re in a B2B or B2C organization, your audience will always want to relate to something that feels more human and personable. As a brand, that’s difficult to do. But employee-generated advocacy and content can do exactly that, giving your brand a face and credibility with your audience.
At the end of the day, employee influence is crucial your brand’s reputation; more than any other internal figures. Arming them with the skills, freedom and voice to share what they know and discover what they don’t will help you unlock that power and put your whole organization in a better position to succeed.