As innumerable channels become available to reach audiences and brand investment tends to fight for consumer attention, having employees as brand ambassadors appears to hold more weight than the latest industry influencer.

An ad chieftain says the success of corporate branding campaigns is not just determined by ad budgets or creativity. No matter how slick the commercial, or engaging the social media campaign, if a company fails to consider its employees as brand ambassadors, its advertising efforts can come completely undone, he adds.

“It is not just what your employees do, but what they say, even outside office walls, that affects your brand value,” Terry Peigh, Senior Vice-President, Managing Director at IPG, told BusinessLine . It is pertinent in today’s digital age, he adds, that companies make their own employees ‘influencers’.

Stating it is crucial to educate employees on brand purpose and ensure they feel genuinely connected to the mission, Peigh says employees tend to rank higher in public trust than a company’s PR department or even its own CEO.

Building trust

“The personal experiences of employees, as they speak to consumers, tend to build trust through empathy. Audiences relate to people like themselves and tacitly assume shared preferences for brands and their benefits,” adds Peigh.

Noting that people tend to identify and remain invested in the brand if the employees convince customers about products and their quality, Peigh emphasises, “Everyone owns the brand, even its employees.”

Concurring with this, Sudarsan Rao, CEO and Co-founder of Socxo, a digital word-of-mouth marketing platform, says brand advocates or brand ambassadors are key to driving the value of brands and their associated business results.

“Brand advocacy is the system of encouraging employees to get visible on social media, provide curated brand and business-related content, empower them to connect, learn, and talk about their brand,” he adds.

Noting that employees are basically “micro-influencers who are more trusted than celebrity influencers since employees of a brand are more authentic and hold real-world relatable voices,” Rao says when 100 trusted voices talk favourably and authentically about a brand within their own network, the brand’s attribution gets a fillip.

Citing an example, he adds, “Say Cadbury comes out with a festive pack every Diwali. If all the employees showcase it across social media platforms, it builds a stronger belief in the brand, as it is not paid. Celebrity and social media influencers are paid. This also becomes an employee-engagement activity.”

Common issues

Giving a humorous touch and addressing the common issues in office spaces, the campaign shows employees in their open-desk-offices talk about what they love and hate about working at Hiver, raising issues that most office-goers can relate to.

“The concept behind the video was to capture an honest representation of the work culture and not display a larger-than-life image,” says Niraj Ranjan Rout, Co-founder and CEO of Hiver.