In this digital age, word of mouth has gone viral. When you need a recommendation, you head to social media to ask the question.
Brands are paying close attention. Movements and trends coming from global influencers are being adopted quickly. Consider the rise of the sharing economy; or the adoption of non-traditional banking and funds management solutions, along with the trending fashion brands endorsed by celebrities. But it is not all about celebrity and vanity – there is some resultant social good, including issues such as equality, diversity and sustainability, all of which have been gaining momentum via public support and social channels. Brands have been watching and are now seeking to lead on these trends.
For example, the global movement that takes climate change seriously has been heard loud and clear and brands are responding to promote their activities and efforts in these spaces.
Unilever launched its sustainable living brands a few years back and have recently announced that these brands are growing 69% faster than the rest of the business. Nike has announced they will be signing the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Change Action, and in doing so will be committing to the industry’s most challenging climate targets to date.
Closer to home, Qantas launched the first-ever commercial flight to produce no landfill waste. They announced that this was the start of their mission to cut 100 million single-use plastics by the end of 2020 and eliminate 75% of the airline’s waste by the end of 2021.
Brands can spend millions of their marketing dollars communicating these efforts to customers via various channels – but one of the most effective (from a cost and efficiency point of view) is vocal endorsement via their own employees.
Employees can become micro influencers. Qantas employees are praising their employer on LinkedIn, publicly demonstrating their support of the initiative for the zero waste future. An initiative that is obviously aligned with their own values.
Consumers love vocalising their opinions or reviews on everything from the best coffee to new and exciting restaurant openings, right through to championing the company they work for. If your internal team is not advocating how great their employer is, or living your offer – several things may require addressing:
These issues can be addressed by aligning your brand, your values, and the value you can bring individual employees in an employer value proposition (EVP). An EVP is a clear definition of what your employment brand stands for. In the increasingly competitive market conditions, attracting and retaining talent should be one of an organisation’s key priorities. Just as a compelling brand proposition will demonstrate a brand’s benefit for customers, so an EVP should define and demonstrate the value an organisation can bring to its employees.
A coherently developed and clearly articulated EVP will support initiatives and contribute to the building of the culture of an organisation. This then becomes central to the current and future employees’ experience with the brand. It allows each employee to understand the role they play in the company and what this means in the context of the overall business strategy and the brand’s promise to internal and external customers.
The not so obvious, is the benefit of an effective and compelling EVP on the transformation of an organisation’s employees becoming brand ambassadors. Employees that are vocal and positive about their employer in public/social spaces create an organic marketing channel where the value of word of mouth is paramount. This, in turn, creates a more positive internal environment with higher morale: greater retention and lower attrition. Externally, this creates the perception of an engaged and active workforce. Positive, external vocalisation by employees is an authentic brand building strategy that a traditional marketing approach, cannot recreate.
Creating a strong employee value proposition should be a collaborative process that engages stakeholders from across the organisation and includes employees at all levels of seniority, tenure, department and function.
At BrandMatters, we run EVP workshops to unearth employees’ perceptions of their employers, and to start articulating the value an employer brings to their working life. By distilling these views down to a core value proposition, we’re able to cut through to the essence of what attracts and keep an employee engaged, what keeps them motivated, and what will make them become vocal advocates.
Once you have articulated your EVP, (re) engagement with both existing employees and external recruitment targets commences. An action plan needs to be put in place to communicate the EVP to both audiences, and a plan that rings true and is authentic. One key goal today should be authentic, self-directed, independent, vocal advocacy in social media spaces.
An organisation’s people will ultimately become the representation of a business, especially in service-based industries. Employers should be in no doubt that every single employee is a brand ambassador or a brand detractor. At BrandMatters, we believe strong and authentic brands are built from the inside out by motivated and committed employees who understand the organisation’s vision, values and behaviours and the role they play in delivering to these. To learn more about how we can supply more information about the criticality and benefits of building an EVP, or to help you commence your EVP journey, contact us.