Personas And Brand Ambassadors: Creating An Authentic Local Voice For Your Brand
I can’t believe I’m saying this but…We don’t work for brands, we work for people and with people. In teams across projects and disciplines, in locations that are conveniently close to our homes, families and friends.
Employers still need a clear view of what their offering is to their people but how this message is disseminated needs to be subtle, democratised and local.
As anyone with a multi-site or regional role knows, one of the first things people will tell you is
“It’s different in my Country/Town” or
“Things don’t work like that here.”
Linkedin data shows that people from Europe are less likely to apply or consider an organisation if they are directed to apply via a US site, it’s confusing and less relevant. Channels, platforms and recruitment practises differ by country and language.
Despite the mass adoption of English in business, the rapid evolution of technology and move to automation, these nuances and cultural drivers are ingrained in people’s DNA, and will always affect career decisions and employer preferences.
One way to do this effectively and still retain an identification with your core employer brand offering is to borrow an approach from content marketing. Creating Persona types of your employees and from these, brand ambassadors.
Personas are generated by analysing your current employee groups to see how working for you fulfils a personal driver or need they have. Are your charity activities a big draw? Are your sales bonuses really motivating? Are people very keen on your approach to flexible working? Do you have people who are funding education and other business ideas by working for you?
You may also want to do this locally, why do engineers want to work for you in Birmingham, Frankfurt or Prague? From these, a series of example persona models or character types are created.
When shared inside the organisation the effects are really exciting as people start to self-select themselves around a persona type, volunteering their stories that demonstrate this affiliation. And so, brand ambassadors are created. It’s not just a recruitment tool, it provides an identifier for your internal tribes. Suddenly you have real content being volunteered by employees because the personas provide a framework for them to do this with confidence as your brand ambassadors.
Because this engagement is personal it cuts through and translates to different locations and countries. You are not asking people not to follow the party line and espouse your values, or follow a brand created in a language and culture that might not be theirs. Instead, you are enabling brand ambassadors who will talk about their own experience of working for you, using their own language and cultural antenna.
This change in approach is going to require some internal stakeholder management, for many organisations, social channels and content are controlled centrally and run by someone from the marketing team. There can be concerns about allowing employees a freer rein on social media which is why a well understood and agreed framework is so important for any brand ambassador programme.
A good first step is to identify a market or location where you are having challenges in growing or recruiting and use that as a test case. By enabling these brand ambassadors to share their stories on social media, directing traffic back to your careers site and tracking conversion you can demonstrate the uplift in applications in this location.
In many ways, this approach is an extension of a referral network, but it gives your people more engaging content to share. They have a reason to do this as it also builds their own career and personal brand.
People just want to work with people like them. And it works – Data from a Brand Ambassadors campaign run by Dell showed that their Ambassadors were just as influential as Michael Dell himself.