Some types of businesses tend to use their employees as brand ambassadors in their outreach, customer service, and marketing efforts. On the surface, it makes a lot of sense. Your employees know your business the best, they are living and breathing assets of your brand, why not use them for promotional purposes as well?
You see this all the time with trendy tech startups that want to promote a positive work culture. You see pictures of employees playing ping-pong, eating snacks, and gathering by the coffee during their breaks. However, the problem with using employees as brand ambassadors is that things can quickly go wrong. Below are some reasons you might want to think twice before you put your employees in charge of establishing your brand.
When you give your employees a voice and allow them to speak their mind, this often results in them feeling empowered and privileged to work for such a positive company. The problem is, things aren’t always going to be happy. In life, there are ups and downs and this is no different in the workplace. There are going to be employees who feel unhappy with work culture, stressed with their job, or disgruntled about the business as a whole. Do you really want these voices to be heard when things turn sour and the positive image of your brand is at stake?
As employees begin to build blogs, post on social media, and reach out to the world about your brand and attempt to be your ambassador, they become more entrepreneurial and independent. These are things they may not have ever pursued on their own but because they are serving as a brand ambassador, suddenly are taking more of an interest. It’s not uncommon for employees to find they enjoy these activities more than they do their actual career and start to consider a change of pace. It might be best to hire out for third party advertising and marketing. You can’t use employees for every branding strategy and having good base marketing will help you if employees do move on without you.
Another issue that could arise when you use employees as brand ambassadors is that their workplace loyalty might not be as strong as you envision. As you begin to reach out to your employees and inquire about their opinions and feelings toward the business, you may find that they are far unhappier than you realized. Your brand ambassadors are suddenly disgruntled and forced to be the face and image of a business that they are not entirely passionate about. Be sure when hiring you ask questions about job loyalty. Pre-employment screenings can help you discover employees who are willing to bring enthusiasm and passion with them and weed out those who jump from career to career.
The problem with using employees as brand ambassadors is that you never know what’s around the corner. There are always going to be unexpected challenges and it’s almost impossible to know your employees well enough to predict their actions. Even with the best pre-employment screening programs, workplace culture and personal opinions simply can’t be forced.
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