It is not surprising, then, that brands all over the world have put an increased focus on providing the best customer service possible, in an effort to transform customers into brand advocates.
However, some of the best potential brand advocates walk through the front door every day, but are often overlooked. That’s right; I’m talking about the brand’s employees.
Brand Advocate Defined
As mentioned in the post, titled “10 Definitions of a “Brand Advocate”,” on blog.zuberance.com, people have slightly different ways of defining a brand advocate.
For the purpose of this post, I am going to use the definition given by Sarah Essary, Senior Account Executive at Edelman Digital, and blogger at consumingpr.com. In the blog.zuberance.com post, Sarah is quoted as saying, “I would say a brand advocate is willing to speak positive about a brand without much or any direct incentive.”
Employees as Brand Advocates
The brand’s employees (should) know the brand’s products and services better than anyone else.
They also interact with the brand’s customers all the time. In fact, they often serve as representatives of the brand.
So, who better to serve the role of brand advocate?
Keep in mind, I’m not talking about the interactions that employees have with customers while they are being compensated by the brand.
I’m talking about what the brand’s employees say about the brand in their lives outside of work.
The Human Factor
Remember, employees are people, too. They have access to the same online tools. They talk to people outside of work, just like everyone else.
If they are singing the praises of the brand, that is some of the best publicity that the brand can receive.
On the other hand, if a brand’s employees don’t think highly of the brand and let other people know about it, it could cast serious doubt about the quality of the brand’s products and services in the minds of its customers and potential customers.
After all, employees should be in the know about the brand’s products and services, right?
Considering the fact that employees have first-hand knowledge about the brand’s products and services, there is a good chance that what they say about the brand will have at least some influence on the purchase decisions of the people who they interact with.
Therefore, it is important that employees are given the information needed to effectively communicate the brand promise to others.
Furthermore, all employees should be trained to understand the importance of word-of-mouth advertising. And, when I say all employees, I mean all employees, from the CEO to the college interns.
What they say “off the clock” can potentially have an effect on the brand’s bottom line. This is particularly true when employees have public conversations online.
I’m not saying that brands should censor what their employees can say outside of work. What I am suggesting, though, is making their employees aware that what they say about the brand does make a difference.
On a side note, it also doesn’t hurt to make sure that the brand is providing a healthy work environment for its employees.
If employees are happy with their jobs and are proud to work for the brand, they will be more likely to tout the greatness of the brand. And, that, after all, is what being a brand advocate is all about.
Photo credit: wovox on Flickr.