It’s clear, our brand, service and value are in the hands of everyone in a business. In the Green Room this month we sit down with eight of our Rockstar CMOs and ask them how they approach getting employees engaged, in sharing the story

It’s easy to consider marketing to be wholly focused outwards, recruiting advocates, building trust and finding customers, but marketing has an important part to play in telling the story internally that keeps the band together and amplifies the sound. Create true believers internally and the benefits to the company, its culture, and its customers can be transformative.

We may live in a digital enhanced age, but you can’t yet fully automate your way to customer experience excellence, a customer will at some point speak to an employee and regardless of how much time you’ve spent with your top team carefully crafting the brand promise, the value proposition or even the product, at that moment, that employee represents you (and every other employee in the business).

The voices of employees are authentic, they see how the sausages are made and if you are in a growth business, these voices are an amazing asset in attracting the best talent that will further add to the value of the business.

In a world of consumer options, even in B2B, people are buying on trust and emotion, they want to know more about your business, culture, and values, before committing to a purchase.

Who better to show the human side of your business, than your humans?   

With all that in mind, we gathered eight of our Rockstar CMO’s together in the Green Room and asked them:

How do we engage our colleagues from across our businesses, to help spread our story, support our brand promise and help us find talent? 

Amber Osborne

Find the internal evangelists, the ones that are most vocal and support them. A good place to start is finding those who are working for the company, already actively promoting and driving conversations the brand across social media or ones that are creating communities

Amber Osborne is CMO at Doghead Simulations – the company behind rumii, a social-virtual reality space that enables collaboration in VR. Amber suggested mandatory karaoke when we went backstage with her.

Ted Rubin

“This is a very important question because we as individuals are the most important “influencers,” as I so often say… Everyone Influences Someone”

Ted always tells it straight and in this issue, we published his uncut response in this article where he shares how organizations need to overcome the fear, stop experimenting and scale, including tools we should consider as marketers to enable organizations to scale employee advocacy programs and for employees to get onboard. [ Read more ]

“Content is how brands can level the playing field. But not just any content cranked out by your corporate marketing department. I’m talking about going to a source that’s close to home—your employees

Ted Rubin is a leading social marketing strategist, keynote speaker, Photofy CMO/advisor, MC/host for Brand Innovators Summits… Speaker, Author, Provocateur Ted is our resident rock star. Read more about Ted.

Jenni Young

Keep communications short and snappy and valuable. Make sure that whatever you inform the team of, they will be able to easily get involved and feel the benefits in terms of profile and being a team player.

Spoon-feed them ways to get involved with the brand and the comms and reward and highlight great engagement and advocacy. Give people a forum to contribute  – from content planning meetings through to focus groups and one to ones. Employees are the best brand advocates you can have – and if you can’t motivate your teams, then the chance of anyone else adopting your brand is even less likely.”

Jenni Young is Managing Director at Partnership for Growth & Innovation (LBHF & Imperial College London) and the CMO of Tappit, a cashless payment platform for event organizers. Go backstage with her here.

Robert Rose

Put simply – if no one inside the tent believes the story, then it is destined to fail on the outside.

Like Ted, Robert’s thorough response had to be published in full and in this article, Robert gave us three steps to success:

  1. Start with the leaders
  2. Look for your connectors
  3. Focus on the people who will be most affected by the story

[ Read more ]

As the Chief Strategy Advisor for the Content Marketing Institute, Robert innovates creative and technical content marketing strategies for his clients. An early internet pioneer, Robert has more than 15 years of experience, and a track record of helping brands and businesses develop successful web and content marketing strategies. Learn more about Robert, as we went backstage with him in our very first issue.

Wendy Bryant-Beswick

“I have approached internal engagement in two ways: education and advocacy. Education typically occurs when a brand is going through a lot of change and re-engineering its marketing efforts. I have always done roadshows and visited retail locations, the contact center and inserted myself into divisional meetings to education on the “why” behind the change. That has proven to be very successful and create more interest internally.

Advocacy is more specific. When I was scaling a consumer-facing financial education program, I needed to scale across 20+ locations. I created student brand advocates that were brought in and treated as an extension of the marketing department. We met with them quarterly and had dinner twice a year. They were our eyes and ears in the field on everything and anything related to student financial education. It worked very well and created instant scaling of the marketing team.

All of my efforts have been in the B2C space – retail locations love to be brought into the fold and appreciate being included. The more you educate on the business of marketing and create internal advocates – we made it a formal program, the more you’ll gain in terms of those folks across the business who can speak for you and help others understand the why behind your efforts.

Wendy Bryant-Beswick is an award-winning marketer with 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry. She is currently VP of Marketing at Service Credit Union. Go backstage with Wendy.

Christine Bailey

For those of you that follow the Edelman Trust Barometer, you‘ll know that we‘re in an environment where trust has never been so important (81% say they must be able to trust the band to do what is right), yet only one in three respondents say they trust most of the brands they buy and use.

There is a widespread distrust of marketing messages – 3 in 4 consumers now avoid advertising and 73% worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon. Yikes! The good news is that people trust employees‘ messages about their company a whole lot more than they trust marketing messages.

So what‘s the magic formula?

  1. Actively encourage employees to take responsibility for amplifying the company brand and make them feel like an extension of the marketing team. When I was on stage at our company meeting in Iceland a few months ago I said „ we don‘t just have 8 people in the marketing team, we have 450 in the marketing team – are you with us?“ Luckily for me, they were!
  2. Train people to feel confident using social media. We‘ve worked with an expert social media trainer Jane Scandurra. As well as ensuring competence with using the right tools, you should give guidelines for employees on what constitutes appropriate online behavior
  3. Encourage employees to share content on social. Don‘t just encourage employees to repost content from your company social channels – also encourage them to share what they are proud of and what they are working on.
  4. Identify employees who are natural influencers and communicators and encourage and empower them! That could mean giving them privileged access to your creative team to support their posts with videos and memes.

Done well, employee advocacy has the power to amplify brand awareness, drive new revenue and increase customer loyalty.

In short, a word-of-mouth marketing engine for the digital age. Done badly, it can have the opposite effect. For example, implementing a social advocacy platform that gamifies content sharing (don‘t get me started….!)

Christine Bailey is CMO of Valitor, an international payment solutions company headquartered in Iceland. Forging a career in the tech sector, she’s led European marketing for Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems, and writes frequently for Forbes Woman. Learn more about Christine in backstage Q&A here.

Ahmed Hasan

When I was at GE I had the glorious task of taking over a project that had eaten a ton of money, never met a deadline and killed the careers of 2 previous IT leaders and a CIO. The project was run out of Uppsala in Sweden.

Now the Swedish culture is one that up to that point, I had never worked with. The first few weeks I was defining the direction but seeing little progress or action. Somewhat bemused a colleague on the team said that in their culture a discussion and common agreement tends to be the best way to get things done.

Fortunately, I was a trained facilitator and Master Lean Leader and used these skills and tools to get the team in the room and define the timeline and actions required to deliver the project. We delivered on time and budget. The moral…to get people to engage you need to engage them.

Everything from involving them in the messaging/products to the strategy and direction. The greater you involve your people in defining what you’re building/selling/providing, the more likely the engagement and positive messaging.

Global Head of Customer Engagement Marketing at Spark44 (an agency dedicated to the global marketing of Jaguar Land Rover brands) Ahmed Hasan has spent his career carving out success in unorthodox ways. Ahmed was formerly Chief Digital Officer at GE Healthcare.

Learn more about Ahmed in our backstage interview.

Jeanniey Mullen

“This is such a critical question for every Company, of every size. Now, with 5 generations in the workforce, “people marketing” is more important than ever.

For every Company, your biggest influencer and brand advocate sits right within your walls. Finding ways to engage them by treating them as your VIP customers or clients is a great first step. Some of the efforts that have worked well for me in the past include:

  • Creating cross-functional teams on special projects related to influencer marketing, reserve mentoring, brand awareness. You don’t need to be in marketing to have a great idea!
  • Pre-selling new ideas and plans to critical decision makers across the organization before presenting them to senior management. You will find you get significant insight and unique views that make every effort better. 
  • Recognizing the internal teams who make things happen (and creating a wish list for future efforts)
  • Pre-launching campaigns and internally with significant buzz and fanfare and turning your employees loose to them, and letting them be creative about taking it out to market.
  • Enabling your employees to have an employee social channel on Instagram where they can share their personal passions about the Company

Any one of these can help kick start some great ideas!

Jeanniey Mullen is clearly a Rockstar CMO in demand, currently CMO at DailyPay, Inc and CMO, Principal Analyst at The Relevancy Group, is on two CMO governing bodies, is a board member, a strategic advisor, author of three books and the Internet Marketing Association’s Networker of the Year. Sounds exhausting! You can follow Jeanniey on Twitter.

An important topic, that I am sure we will come back to here at Rockstar CMO and thanks to Amber, Ted, Robert, Christine, Jenni, Wendy, Ahmed, Jeanniey for their fantastic advice.

Do you have any advice we could share? Why not Tweet us at @rockstarcmo – let us know.

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