If you look at annual best places to work lists, you’ll find some similarities. These companies have a great culture and high employee engagement. It’s not a coincidence that these same companies earn 2.5 times more revenue than companies with disengaged employees.
In other words, engaged employees make the best brand ambassadors.
They help the company by bringing in more talented employees—and more customers! But how do you create this cycle of success? It all starts with the keys of your brand—your mission and values, plus employee engagement. Add in branded swag, and you’ll be on your way to a more successful, profitable company where people want to work.
Pursuing a great mission
Loren Branch, a marketing and communications coordinator at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, tells the story of how a Challenger Coffee Mug, staff input and the words “I pursue” helped turn the broad topic of public health into a focal point for the school.
Have employees make the brand personal!
“We did some brand research to figure out what people know about the school,” Branch said. “We weren’t doing a rebrand exactly, but we wanted to figure out how people viewed our brand. Because public health entails everything from car seats to the opioid crisis.
“We ordered the mugs for staff members with our logo on one side and ‘I Pursue ________’ on the other. The word pursue is a keyword we are using in our new branding efforts because of how broad and continuous public health is. Staff members were provided acrylic or oil-based markers to fill in their blank and instructions to bake their mugs and make it permanent. Some of the items people came up with were: Consistency, Health Policy, Communications and Health Equity.”
The exercise helped the school focus on its mission and it became the impetus for new brand messaging.
Evaluate your mission and values statements
The school’s approach to updated brand messaging worked because they involved the staff. Staff was encouraged to think about how they make a difference.
Shaun Smith, author of the book “On Purpose: Delivering a Branded Customer Experience People Love,” explains the idea of a mission. “People don’t get up in the morning fired up by the thought of making profits for their company. They are, however, motivated by making a difference for customers or feeling that they are contributing to something meaningful.”
In other words, your mission tells the world what you do and tells your employees why they should be excited to come to work in the morning.
Studies have shown, however, that 60 percent of employees don’t understand their companies’ mission and values.
So, if you don’t have a mission statement already, it’s time to create one!
And even if you have a company mission statement, take a closer look at it. Does it still apply to your business today? Be sure to include employee input, as that will help them take ownership of your mission.
Get employee backing
Your company has almost certainly gone through a long process of external branding, from your logos and slogans to your advertising and website. Your internal branding process should be just as extensive.
There are many ways to get employees engaged:
- Give out useful branded gifts for employees, like the Slim Pocket Multi Tool, and use them to spread the word about available tools to help employees demonstrate your business’ missions and values.
- Boost awareness by hanging posters that list your mission and values.
- Update everyone’s screensavers to rotate through the mission and value statements.
- Provide team apparel, like the Thunderbolt Interlock Sport Shirt, to remind them that no matter what department they work in, you’re all on the same team.
- Send one value statement per day by email and provide ideas of how to live that value. Recognize employees who do!
Empower your employees to build a better company
After solidifying their brand identity and voice, the University of Michigan School of Public Health updated its marketing materials, including building signs and pamphlets, with new messaging. And while they’re still monitoring the final effects externally, internally they’ve seen some extremely positive results.
“The school is made of seven academic departments – and they all do things differently,” Branch said. “But since we introduced the ‘pursue’ brand, we’ve been able to build up some relationships across departments. People internally have started to use the language, especially the ‘pursue’ platform. It definitely resonates with some people.”
With your employees being so integral to defining your brand, it’s important to find ways to remind them of how important the mission and values of the business are, whether it’s with words of praise or branded gifts for employees.
Recognize employees for demonstrating company values
Studies show that managerial recognition is the best way to inspire employees to do great work. Find a way to recognize when employees are demonstrating company values, whether it’s via email, sticky note or verbal praise in team meetings. It can help to offer fun branded swag for demonstrating company values, like a USB Fan with Duo Connector.
Ask your employees to be your ambassadors
Studies have shown that your employees truly are the most trusted members of your business with the largest social media reach. In fact, content shared by employees gets eight times more engagement than content that was only shared by your brand channels.
Subsequently, it literally pays to ask your employees to be your brand advocates. Be sure to encourage them to write a blog or share your social media posts.
Employees are truly your most important asset
By helping your employees understand why you do what you do, they can become your company’s greatest brand ambassadors. Add in some branded swag, and you’ll likely see positive results in team member engagement and your bottom line.