summer / 2016

The magazine of branded content
10 ways to turn
your employees into
your best brand
Juliet Stott
Juliet Stott
Jul 14, 2016

“My employees are the best ambassadors of my company,” says Urszula Radzińska president of Content Marketing Polska and of her own agency AUDE, in Warsaw. “The size of the company doesn’t matter, whether we have one employee or thousands of them. Only when we make them the ambassadors of our brand do we get a chance to succeed in a spectacular way,” she says in her recently published book Your First Customer: how to turn employees into best company ambassador. Radzińska, who has interviewed leading lights from the content marketing and communications industry, has tackled the issue of how to build employee engagement.

Here she’s shared excerpts from her book with Content Magazine:

1. Integrated, consistent voice:

“It’s very, very important that companies communicate, behave and act in a consistent and integrated way,” says Prof. Dr Clemens Koob, managing director and founding partner of a leading market research and strategy consulting firm Zehnvier, Zurich. “If companies don’t speak with an integrated, consistent voice to the internal and external stakeholders, it is a big problem. It might cause employees to lose confidence in their own company. It is very important that employees know what the brand and company stands for, if they don’t, it’s very unlikely they will identify with, or trust it.”

2. Say ‘Follow Me’:

“A company needs leaders,” says Dr hab Jacek Wasilewski member of the Faculty of Journalism and Political Science from the University of Warsaw. “Those leaders can either say: ‘Attack!’ or they can say ‘Follow Me!’ The latter have a different bond with people, they are respected. If we want people to follow us, we need to give them goals that are important to them, and that they can identify with. If you want to build ships you need to tell people about the beauty of the sea. When we have a vision, hope and sense of meaning, we become much more productive.”

3. Celebrate employees:

“It’s easier to share [good news about your company as an employee] when your group leader celebrates communication from employees of all kinds,” says Joe Pulizzi, founder of The Content Marketing Institute and author of four best-selling content marketing books. “How the leader reacts to news is telling. If leadership celebrated communication, I was open. When they didn’t, I wasn’t. The leader sets the tone that build the culture.”

4. Shared goals:

“In order for an employee to become a company ambassador, he or she must identify with it; must believe in its functioning and must want to help reaching its goals,” says Magdalena Brzezińska, Head of Corporate Communications at Grupa Żywiec, Poland’s premium alcoholic beverages company, and owner of the Heineken brand. “Building this kind of engagement comes down to a key factor, communication. If employees are hardly ever engaged in creating and defining the company’s vision or strategy, or nobody consults them, then they’ll feel like passive recipients of what some unknown board of managers is imposing.”

5. Natural bond:

“There is no one definition of a company ambassador or a brand ambassador and there is no single method for triggering this special type of loyalty in employees,” says Agnieszka Brania Communications Manager at General Motors Manufacturing, Poland. “I think the common element is the bond from feeling safe, being able to express your thoughts and to be creative, or sometimes simply from the feeling of being appreciated, respected and fairly treated.”

6. Know the Big Picture:

“Employees should know the company’s strategy from the start and never lose sight of the goals we are trying to reach as an organisation,” says Magdalena Bugajko who is responsible for PR, internal comms and brand image at DHL Parcel, Poland. “If they only focus on a limited segment of the company’s operations, and don’t get the opportunity to get a broader look at the organization, they will never take full responsibility for their tasks. They will not understand the meaning of their duties and their influence on achieving the company goals.”

7. Align brand and personal values:

“Being a company’s ambassador is to be a champion of the company, its products and its brands,” says Ana Verčko Grilec Communications Director for Goodyear (tires) in central Europe. “And the reasons can be very personal. For me, promoting Goodyear comes naturally. I love our company and what it stands for. I feel very proud of our products and about being part of the company that offers top tires which bring safety to drivers all over the globe. I use our tires myself and based on my superb experience, I can (and do) recommend them. I feel that my personal values go hand in hand with the values of my company.”

8. A need to believe:

“If an employee does not identify with what the company does, he or she cannot be its ambassador,” says Anna Kulawik Head of Communications Bureau, Provident Polska, Warsaw Poland. “Our people identify with the mission and vision of the company, which shows in engagement surveys. Another key is to treat employees and associates well. If an employee does not feel that he or she is treated right by the company, communication alone will not be enough to make them a company ambassador.”

9. Do what you say:

“If you want to build engagement what you say must go hand in hand with what you do,” says Monika Chajdacka HR Business Partner at CapGemini. “People who are important to you are looking at you. If they don’t like what they see, they will go somewhere else. Employer branding starts at what you do and say to your current employees, not your future ones.”

10. Use employee passion:

“We should make use of the passion people have when entering a corporation, their strength and readiness to observe,” says Monika Sońta a PhD student in management at the Kozminski University and adviser at the management consultancy, House of Skills. “If new employees see that the managers value openness, innovation or engagement, these are the values they will strive for. If they notice nobody values showing initiative, they won’t do it.”

Click on the link to buy a copy of Urszula Radzińska’s book Your First Customer: how to turn employees into best company ambassador.