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Topic: employee evangelism

Brand Ambassador Program with Employees

How to form your Employee Brand Ambassador Program

This article is an inside look at some of the strategies we use in our Employee Ambassador Program.  The reason we are giving away our secrets is that our program is for those businesses that want an outside company with strong social media credentials to work in a collaborative environment with employees to strengthen the personal brand of key employees as well as the corporate brand.  It is not the activities that are important, but the collaborative environment and monthly assessment of progress that will make your Employee Brand Ambassador Program succeed.

Goal of an Employee Brand Ambassador Program

Your goal may vary, but generally speaking the goal of an Employee Brand Ambassador Program is to help employees become better evangelists for where they work. 

The outcome of the Brand Ambassador effort should include:

  • Employees connected with more people.
  • Positive information in many places on Internet, including search engine slots.
  • Increase in sales leads and income, as people feel more connected with your employees.
  • Much better search engine saturation for your brands
  • Increase in invitations for speaking and PR opportunities
  • Jump start online conversations about brand
  • Increased website traffic from links and search

The most important thing to keep in mind about your Employee Brand Ambassador Program is that it will compound over time.  The first month rarely results in a big, noticable outcome.  Instead, you have to think of each connection an employee ambassador makes as having value.  Each blog post adds to the content that shows up in search engines.  The Internet has a long life span and the things you do today will keep working for you in the future.

So what are the core things to do with a group of employees to launch your Employee Brand Embassador Program?

Employee Ambassador Profiles

Good employee ambassadors need to develop great online profiles that help people find them and understand what they do.

  • Register www.YourName.com
  • Add a blog to that domain
  • Set up a LinkedIn profile.  Connect with people and answer questions.
  • Set up a twitter account
  • Your Brand Ambassador consultant can review these and help you get the most from them by customizing them and optimizing them for better search engine results.
  • Facebook.com Account
  • Set up some free blogs – Even if you have a good WordPress blog on your personal domain, it is also valuable to set up blogs one the free sites, such as wordpress.com and blogger.com.  These will just be lightly maintained with good occasional content and links to important articles, events, etc.

Keep in mind that all of these above items are developing a personal brand.  However, within that personal brand each person should mention where they work and link to the company website or blog.

Employee Ambassador Content Creation

You then need to put together a schedule and rules for using these tools.  I’d suggest that you make it very clear what employees can do during work hours and what needs done during off hours.  Some research I have seen suggests that twitter is a big way people waist time at work.  That is why your content creation strategy for employee brand ambassador’s must spell out the terms of participation. 

In addition to the above personal branding efforts, your organization should set up a corporate blog, corporate twitter account with news updates, post video and possibly do a podcast show about the industry your clients are in.  All of these things can also be developed by your most passionate employee brand ambassadors.

To build a successful brand ambassador program, you will need:

  • Set goals and milestones for your brand ambassadors.
  • Use a project management and collaborative community to keep the team energized and involved.
  • Reward top employee ambassador performers
  • Document successes and outcomes each month and share the report with the Employee Brand Embassadors.
  • Make sure your Employee Brand Embassador’s know all the great stories, testimonials and ways that your company helps clients.  Give them positive things to talk about.
  • Ditch Bad Seeds – Not popular, but someone has to say it.  If someone is not participating, saying negative things or being negative in the group, there is no room for them in your Employee Brand Ambassador Program.

You can do all of this yourself.  If you are looking for someone that can coordinate this effort for you and develop a lot of buzz on the web with your motivated Employee Brand Ambassadors, visit our Employee Brand Ambassador website.

Brand Ambassador

Bubble macroWhat is a Brand Ambassador? You may have heard the term.

It is the same thing we are doing with employee ambassadors. It is when you help your key constituents become walking logos or an extension of your corporate brand.

Here are 10 ways an average, happy employee can become a powerful brand ambassador:

  1. Start a blog and talk about work.
  2. Word of mouth – Talk about what a great place it is with others.
  3. Brand Ambassador Party – Maybe a party where the ambassador can demo your product and sell them.
  4. Twitter.com – Micro-ambassador
  5. FaceBook.com
  6. LinkedIn.com
  7. StumbleUpon.com
  8. Del.icio.us
  9. Search – Searching for comments about the company
  10. Any online groups – and there are millions.

Those are just the low handing fruit. Check out our Employee Ambassador Program if this topic interests you.

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Internet Marketing

10 Internet marketing Secrets the experts don’t want you to know

  1. Free Blogs and Websites can improve your internet marketing results a lot.
  2. WordPress is a great Internet marketing tool that is free, other than hosting.
  3. WordPress has great free Internet marketing and SEO plugins.
  4. The Internet Marketing Formula is simple and not an all or nothing proposition.
  5. Good, regular writing is important to internet marketing success.
  6. It is easier to get results with affiliates that are active instead of developing new people.
  7. Employee Evangelism can super-charge your internet marketing.
  8. Capturing relationships is critical – Use email marketing.
  9. Use open source – It is unlikely you need big custom development projects.
  10. Internet Marketing is most successful when you build an audience of people that respect you and want to hear from you.  That is hard to do with an old-style business website.

Bonus: Sure twitter seems silly, but it is generating great internet marketing results at times, and takes very little effort.  You should use it once in a while.

Buzz Marketing Help

Secrets...I attended a local blog community meeting today and one thing that attending does is make me feel really good about the buzz marketing help I provide.

It gives me a chance to reflect on the things I have learned over the last month.  Things that may not be fantastic to me but really help others.

I was able to tell them about Amazon s3 and how to use the firefox extension to take advantage of it.  I was able to share some WordPress SEO secrets.  I talked about how I have adjusted my titles and writing style to get better visibility.

While I do not think of it as Buzz marketing Help, that is exactly what it is.  And I learn as much as I give.  My new Employee Evangelism Program is being launched soon and it targets bigger clients than I usually work with.   The other members that were there let me know which press release site to use and how to target the public companies better.

We talked for nearly 3 hours and would have kept going had several people not had meetings.  If you are not a part of a group like this, you need to be.  And if there are none in your area, start one.

Reflecting on the things I learned this month and giving general buzz marketing help to other bloggers is fun and makes me feel like the research I do really is appreciated.

Employee Evangelism vs Virtual Buzz Assistants

I have had a difficult dilemma over the years I have been advocating Employee Evangelism.  On the one hand, it is a great way to increase sales and visibility at no additional cost.  On the other hand, the cost could be huge if your employees spend all their time evangelizing and not doing their core job.

shama_pic Shama Hyder did a research study on Twitter and the results are unfortunately in favor of not doing Employee Evangelism.  While twitter can be a great tool for marketing, it is also a great way to procrastinate and escape from the daily grind.  I have to admit that I expected that.

I also see a huge opportunity here.  If people are in businesses wasting time on Twitter, that is a great audience for you to tap into.  That is why you may not want to have your employees using twitter at work, but you definitely want to hire a Virtual Buzz Assistant to help you develop and bond with a great group of time wasters.

A Virtual Buzz Assistant is not going to impersonate you, but you can always set up an account that represents your organization and develop an audience of followers that care about the twitter feed.

You should check out Shama’s blog as well for information on using FaceBook.

Added Later: John Cow talks about twitter as well – The debate rages.

Buzz Group Tool – Simple Employee Evangelism

How do you get non-technical and non-marketing people to be better at being avid evangelists for where they work?

We are always asking ourselves this question.  It has to be simple and quick, yet effective.

With that in mind, we have launched our first SEE product.

SEE stands for Simple Employee Evangelism – and the first one  is a blog commenting strategy that is fun, fast and effective – and everyone can participate.  It is simply a downloadable package of documents, including audio, PowerPoint and more, that you can use to quickly get everyone buzzing.

Click here to see what we are talking about.

You will only want to buy this if you are trying to encourage other people in your organization to create more buzz.  When you buy it, you get full rights to customize it and distribute it within your organization.

Also, until mid-February 2008 it is also deeply discounted.  Since it has a money back guarantee, you may just pick up a copy quickly.

Be sure to read towards the bottom for the special (or not so special) free bonus that comes with it.

The number one reason we are trying this is that it targets ONE behavior.  If you get people to change this one simple behavior on a weekly basis, you are going to generate more buzz and website traffic.

PLEASE - Let me know what you think of this approach. If managers, marketing professionals and business owners like this easy format, we will begin doing one of these per month.

Celebrity Apprentice Appearance

Jeffrey Hayzlett (Mr. Kodak) was recently interviewed on this blog about Kodak’s Employee Ambassador program.  This week he is appearing on Celebrity Apprentice.  (Thursday, 9:00 PM on NBC)

If I was not one degree away from Donald Trump before, I certainly am now. 

If you have not watched it yet, it is fun to see how celebrities use their ability to create buzz to get bigger results faster and win the contests.  If you have not watched it yet, this is the week to give it a try and support our friend Jeffrey, who was kind enough to let us peer into how the big companies are doing employee evangelism.

Make Money on the Internet

Dean Hunt is a Buzz Marketer that really focuses on making money on the Internet.

Here I try to focus on Employee Evangelism and group buzz efforts.  If you read this blog and would like to know about making money on the internet – and the two topics are not mutually exclusive – then you will want to contact Dean Hunt.  He and his partner are rolling out a Buzz marketing – Internet marketing Resource.

Leave him a comment or email him and he will update you once it is officially available if you are serious about making money from your buzz effort.  I can tell you he knows what he is doing and does a great job of making his efforts transparent to everyone.

How Employee Ambassadors have transformed Kodak

Employee Brand Ambassadors

Read More About Employee Brand Ambassador Programs

I had the pleasure of seeing Jeffrey Hayzlett speak a few months ago.  It was especially impressive to me because Employee Evangelism is something I usually have to dig for, and here was a CMO talking about how Employee Ambassadors are a huge part of their growth.

I got the chance to ask Jeffery some questions about how it works for Kodak and how they implement it.  Be sure to check out the link to their Print Ambassador program.

1) Question:  Kodak has gone through some major changes in the past few years. How has your employee-base changed?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Kodak has gone through an historic transformation from a vertically integrated manufacturer to a diverse supplier of digital and conventional solutions. That transformation was successful due to the enormous talent of the Kodak employees. Now a horizontally lean company, the Kodak employee remains one of the company’s greatest resources…that has not changed.

2) Question: With so many newer employees, has it been easier to encourage Employee Ambassadors?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: I’m proud that two of Kodak’s strongest assets are our people and our brand. Employees have long been ambassadors of the brand. In fact even after retirement, former employees continue to support and tout Kodak solutions. While there have been many change in the past few years, I think one of constants has been both the employees and the public’s desire to see Kodak succeed in its transformation. That support was one of the factors in the success of the transformation to a new Kodak.

3) Question: Can you give me one or two examples of non-sales staff that have been successful ambassadors? What impact did they have on the organization?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: We have recently implemented a program called FAST here at Kodak. FAST is set of operational guidelines designed to drive sustainable, profitable growth.

FAST stands for Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Trust.

In short, the FAST behaviors require us to treat everyone — internal and external — as a customer.

If we treat everyone as a customer — by delivering as promised and making no excuses — the company prospers.

Another initiative is our new BOOYAH Recognition Certificate. It’s a fresh way to recognize individuals at Kodak for exceptional on-the-job performance, dedication, and commitment. Too often we forget to recognize and thank an individual’s contributions – this certificate provides the opportunity to signal our appreciation in a very visible, upbeat way.

The term “booyah” is a spontaneous expression of passion and joy, usually brought on by victory, success, or some other significant accomplishment. For us, it represents the acknowledgement of a job well done – a great idea, an outstanding attitude, or an obvious effort above and beyond the call of duty.

4) Question: How do your encourage active ambassadorship? Is it required or optional?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: I believe Gandhi said it best. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” People tend to model the behavior of those around them. As the Kodak leadership team models the behavior of an ambassador, it fosters that behavior in the Kodak community. Conversely, the leadership team learns from employee ambassadors as well. It is vitally important to the company as it keeps all levels of the organization in true communication.

5) Question: Overall, how has this program of actively cultivating a culture of employee ambassadors helped Kodak?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: The Kodak brand continues to grow stronger, both internally and externally as our employees hold themselves personally accountable for achieving the corporate goals. My overall observation is we have happier employees. As we continue to develop an environment that fosters a personal sense of ownership and commitment, we build company based on pride. The result is a company with a brand that each employee can call their own, a company of employee ambassadors.

Who is Jeffrey Hayzlett?

Chief Business Development Officer and Vice President,

Eastman Kodak Company

Jeffrey Hayzlett serves as Chief Business Officer and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. He has responsibility for Corporate and Product Public Relations, Communications and Public Affairs, Brand Management, Corporate Sponsorships, Market Development and Corporate Relationships and Partnerships. Mr. Hayzlett reports to both the CEO and COO of the company.

Mr. Hayzlett joined Eastman Kodak Company in April 2006 as Chief marketing Officer and Vice President, Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group (GCG), leading all marketing activities for GCG. Mr. Hayzlett has nearly 25 years of international marketing, sales and customer relations management experience.

Mr. Hayzlett is currently a member of the board of directors of the Business marketing Association (BMA), the Electronic Document Systems Foundation (EDSF) and is on the advisory board of the CMO Council. He is chairman of the Sales and marketing Executives International (SMEI) Foundation for marketing Education, and is a permanent trustee to the SMEI Academy of Achievement Hall of Fame. He is also a two term past chairman of SMEI. Mr. Hayzlett remains a trustee of Pi Sigma Epsilon National Education Foundation.

Mr. Hayzlett has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from Frost & Sullivan, a global business research and consulting firm. He was recently named one of BtoB Magazine’s Best Marketers of 2007. He was awarded the International Business Person of the Year Award by the International Printers’ Network (IPN), received The British Association for Print and Communication (BAPC) Honorary Life Member award in 2004, and the National Association of Quick Printing (NAQP) Industry Award of Distinction in 1997.

Mr. Hayzlett speaks frequently around the world on graphic communications and marketing, including presentations in 2007 at the Canadian marketing Association’s National Convention and Trade Show, “THE Conference on marketing,” the Direct marketing Association Leadership Forum, Print Oasis, and the National Postal Forum.

To find out more about Kodak, visit www.Kodak.com and don’t forget to check out that Print Ambassador program to see some examples of Ambassadorship in action.

Employee Evangelism – What would you call it?

I have a question for you today. 

I define Employee Evangelism as – creating an organizational culture where people know what is buzz-worthy about the organization and are encouraged to spread the word. 

 This could include Internet or word of mouth – depending on what is right for the organization and comfortable for the team member.

The problem with the words Employee Evangelism are:

  • Sounds too extreme and difficult
  • Has a religious overtone, even though the word Evangelism’s root is based on spreading good news.
  • Using the word employee is very us against them – When it should be about group benefit.

I have played with terms like

  1. Employee Advocates (Sounds too much like a union rep)
  2. Employee Ambassadors – this is used by Kodak to describe their efforts
  3. Team Buzz marketing – sounds cliche

What do you think?  Do you have a good name for this kind of effort?  One that appeals to the employee members and the management team that has to sell the cultural shift in the organization?

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