Someone asked me the other day, “How big is your marketing team?” My reply was, “Our marketing department is very small but I have a HUGE marketing team.” Why, you might ask? I consider every employee within our organization part of our marketing team. No matter what industry you are in, frontline staff members are critical to ongoing customer loyalty, customer engagement and spreading brand awareness. Your frontline staff can make or break your brand.
How can you create a team of brand ambassadors within your organization? Here are a few tips that may help:
Start off by keeping your employees engaged
Upper level management should be transparent and share the goals of the organization with all employees. This will help them understand the mission, vision and values of the company as well as the reasons why they are marketing specific messages. This is a great building block to create internal brand ambassadors. Last month’s blog by Melissa Marion, Director of Fund Development for MonValley Hospital, stated it perfectly: “But, happiness and satisfaction are not enough – employees need to be engaged.” Please read the full blog below, if you have not done so already.
Teach employees your brand
Have branding standards easily accessible to your employees. Make sure they are clear and easy to understand. Not everyone understands marketing terms such as Pantone colors or hex colors. List a single contact person or point of reference where they can ask questions or ask for help. Maybe it’s a secretary that’s trained in the brand standards or a marketing department team member.
Give them tools to use that are branded
Give them resources to use internally that are properly branded. They will feel included and utilize the brand correctly. One important example of a template that we offer (and many companies offer) to staff would be a PowerPoint template that is easy to use with a variety of page setups and options. We also have some of our internal communication pages that are prebuilt within the templates. Employees can easily insert some of the communication charts with a click of a button. The other positive is that each employee is using the same template and everything circulating within and outside of the organization looks unified. We also offer templates for thank you cards, patient satisfaction cards and more.
Ask for employee feedback along the way
Your employees and frontline staff know your customers better than anyone. They are the ones that interact with them day to day. Invent a simple way for them to send you feedback like a survey, a suggestion box in the employee lounge or an email address where they can send ideas. Make sure you let employees know about the options and even if you don’t use their suggestion, acknowledge that you received it and thank them. Make sure they know their voice was heard.
Involve employees in campaigns, when you can
Finding employees that are engaged and including their faces in your campaigns will go a long way. It not only gives a personal connection to your customers to see real employees, it will also resonate with other employees so they can connect to the campaign as well. When they see their peers and coworkers it affects them on a personal level.
Try making an internal campaign that is targeted to your employees
Find unique ways to make an internal marketing campaign that supports your brand. Whether you want to communicated a new message to your employees, or just want them to use your services, put together a campaign the speaks directly to them and only them. Recently we created an internal marketing campaign called “Two hands at a time”. The purpose of the campaign was to remind frontline staff that they need to wash their hands before entering patients’ rooms and after they leave. Below are a few examples from the campaign. We spread the campaign internally across all units, hung posters, screen savers, put stickers on all hand sanitizer dispensers and we continue to utilize it in many other ways. We also created a video that was shown to new employees during training, and at team development training sessions for existing employees. Here is a link to the video. We used real employees and made it fun. https://vimeo.com/146783656
Show your external campaigns to employees first
If you can get your employees oriented to a new campaign or message that will be presented to the community they have the ability to use that information to create better conversations with your customers. Your staff will also feel special that they get to have the sneak peek before it hits the media outlets. In the past, when we have released large campaigns, we even threw a “release party” for the employees. I put together a demonstration including the messaging behind the campaign, examples and visuals they would be seeing. They were also able to see the commercials first hand, before anyone else. We decorated in a movie premier theme and offered free popcorn and drinks for all who attended.
Praise positive brand endorsements
Even if it’s as simple as an employee that has demonstrated the true meaning of your mission, make sure it’s not only known to that employee, but others. Hopefully your other staff will want to follow suit. Make a place to display this information or thank the employee during a meeting. This also circles back to the point about engagement as well.
As you can see, I feel very strongly about employee engagement as well as creating internal brand ambassadors. Not keeping your employees in the loop is a little like buying an ad in the local paper or trade publication and then not filling the space. Your employees are going to interact with your best customers and most promising prospects. Utilize them and it will support everything else you are doing.
Post Courtesy of: Stephanie Wagoner, Manager, Marketing and Community Relations
Washington Health System