The term “brand ambassador” has become quite the buzz word in the business realm – especially in the context of transforming your employees into brand ambassadors. After all, an organization’s employees are one of the most powerful brand assets it has; who better to positively represent an organization’s image and increase its reach than the very people who work for it?
While the math seems obvious, many companies fail to capitalize on their own people in a marketing capacity. Since employees have specific jobs, it’s hard to think about them performing an alternative role, and encouraging brand promotion might feel awkward or forced.
Luckily, inspiring your team to represent the brand becomes quite simple when you focus on creating one thing: a great company culture. When employees love the place they work, when they have a clear idea of what their organization stands for and their role in it, brand ambassadorship comes naturally. They appreciate the company so much they can’t help but spread the word, whether that be sharing a passion project with Facebook followers or raving about their job at dinner with friends. Essentially, a great company culture allows you to harness the natural passion your team already has for your organization’s cause.
Utilizing employees as brand ambassadors is particularly smart for small businesses and nonprofits who don’t have a large budget to spend on marketing. Here at Camp Corral, we only spend nine percent of our budget on fundraising efforts. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of the resources we already have at our disposal.
Brand magic happens when employees are engaged and happy. There are five areas to focus on when cultivating a company culture any employee would love working in – and talking about. I’ve expanded on these topics below, which all follow the belief that good culture means an office atmosphere where employees are engaged in the work they do and committed to the organization they work for.
1. A Fun Workspace
Creating a comfortable, upbeat office goes a long way in boosting employee satisfaction. People spend at least a third of their day at the office, so the environment they work in impacts mood, perspective and even work ethic. Strive for a lot of natural light; if this isn’t possible, go for warm tones to create a welcoming ambience. Decorate with art and fill the office with comfy furniture, enticing break rooms and stimulating collaboration spaces. Give employees extra amenities to personalize their space, depending on their interests. You can fund exercise balls to replace chairs, laptop stands to improve posture and succulents to brighten up desks. At Camp Corral, we’ve all decorated our spaces with art to fit our personalities. The more comfortable an employee feels in a space, the happier and more productive they will be – and more motivated to do a little marketing on behalf of the brand.
Have trust in your team’s time management by being easygoing about staff going on walks, taking breaks and playing games to re-focus and rejuvenate. Kick that trust up a notch by letting employees spend ten percent of their time researching projects of their own design. This not only leads to insight for the company; it also creates a sense of independence and self-actualization for staff, and demonstrates how much you trust them.
Flexibility also involves time out of the office. Be understanding about appointments, encourage vacations and don’t feel the need to adhere to a strict 9 to 5 schedule – maybe it’s easier for some employees to come in earlier and leave earlier. This consideration of work-life balance makes an employee feel supported, which ultimately leads to the kind of ideal culture an employee wants to brag about.
Recognize when an employee finishes a project and meets a goal, whether that be with a simple “thank you” or with a celebratory lunch. Positive feedback motivates your team to continue performing well, and specific feedback that shows how their work contributes to the success of the business makes them feel valued. An added bonus: when employees feel good, they are more likely to share their work achievements – and thus the organization’s successes – with acquaintances over coffee or followers on LinkedIn.
4. Neat Perks
A little added fun boosts morale and makes for wonderful branding opportunities. We share an office space at Camp Corral, and one of the perks of the building is that we have access to fresh, gourmet lunches. Plan team outings like trivia Tuesdays, happy hour and monthly potlucks. Make the office dog-friendly if allergies permit and give out gift cards for work milestones. Consider providing paid time off for employees to participate in passion projects like running a marathon for charity. In this way you help your team give back to the community while also making them feel proud to work for such a conscientious organization.
5. Open Dialogue
Give everyone a say! Make it easy for employees to share their opinions and give executives feedback. At Camp Corral our “open-door” policy and small team encourage direct communication, which is really conducive to exchanging ideas. Ask staff for their opinion on a client project or help brainstorming new campaign strategies. When you involve employees in the decision-making process, you create a collaborative company culture where everyone has a purpose and helps one another.
Though some of these tips may seem unconventional, they are forward-thinking and healthy. Culture is a major factor in an employees’ satisfaction, and employees who are engaged and happy feel a profound connection to their company and want to see it succeed. You’ll find that cultivating a fun company culture that employees love translates not only into willing and natural brand ambassadors, but also into increased productivity, motivation and creativity in the workplace. What’s not to love?