It doesn’t matter whether you are a food manufacturer or a distributor of electronic equipment: you want your organization’s brand to be recognizable and well received in the marketplace. To help achieve this status, along with a solid marketing program, you need Brand Advocates — people who support your company’s plans for growth.
Here’s how you can find advocates and build your brand advocacy program.
Employees as Advocates
Every employee should know and understand their brand. Ideally, you want them to be brand advocates as well.
The process of developing employees into brand advocates should begin during onboarding, following the steps and activities that are integral to doing one’s job. This process can be a bigger challenge in the industrial and manufacturing space than in other environments. So how do you do it? Develop a plan to include factory and warehouse employees on an ongoing basis with what’s happening on the front line.
Employees want to talk about their workplace. Don’t you want that chatter to be positive? It will be if you keep them educated about new product launches, new clients, sales growth, new employees, new distribution channels, company news, and more. Employees will feel they are a part of the bigger picture. Companies that consider every employee a potential brand ambassador are playing to far better odds.
Brand Advocates Bring the Trust Factor
Consumers continue to rely on recommendations from family and friends. Only about 2 of 10 trust online ads. Not only are your employees a powerful force for advocacy, but your existing clients are a potential untapped stream of brand advocacy as well. A client tweeting about a positive experience with your product or a supplier discussing your partnership on their social media channels can generate a lot of goodwill (and more). In addition, potential clients or investors who are keeping tabs on your business will feel confident in what their due diligence about your company uncovers. And having a brand advocacy program can dilute negative feedback, helping put your business back in a positive light.
Building Your Base of Brand Advocates
You’ve got advocates. But how can you create more brand advocates and turn them into a powerful marketing tool?
- Find your happy customers and encourage them to tell their story. They are unaffiliated with your company which makes their support more influential to potential clients and partners.
- Don’t forget about business partners, including charitable organizations. Ensuring your name and business are in a positive light will create additional opportunities for your brand to grow.
Earned media, including peer-to-peer referrals and word of mouth marketing, drives significantly better results than paid media.
How Much Should You Invest in a Brand Advocacy Program
Employee advocacy can be simplified by using brand advocacy tools to help curate content allowing ease of sharing to various channels. These tools can also help you track your advocacy to ensure it’s working. If you are considering making an investment and want to maximize your time while equipping your employees to be powerful advocates, consider browsing Medium’s 10 top employee advocacy tools to increase brand reach and ROI.
While programs can be helpful to support brand advocacy, you do not have to pay a large sum of money to begin implementing these ideas and concepts across your organization. Use your existing infrastructure to inform, engage, and educate your employees about your brand as a starting point. Tools won’t help if you don’t have an established strategy.
Before you approve the marketing budget for the next year, make sure you are cultivating your most powerful and perhaps untapped resources in your arsenal by using your existing employees and partners to help tell your story.