News and Views

Purpose-driven employees are your strongest brand ambassadors

Guusje Bendeler
January 23, 2018
News and Views

Purpose-driven employees are your strongest brand ambassadors

You’ve probably read the proliferation of literature about the benefits of hiring purpose-driven employees, which can result in increased productivity, higher retention rates, and more effective collaboration, just to name a few. But have you ever wondered how purpose-driven employees impact your organization’s branding and marketing?

As a CMO, you might believe that having purpose-driven employees work for your company is irrelevant to your work. You’re focused on marketing strategy and commercialization, so how would something that seems so siloed in HR affect your department? In reality, employee engagement, satisfaction, and culture fit has a direct impact on marketing. Keep reading to find out how this can propel your own company.

What are purpose-driven employees? They are people who are not only committed to their company’s goals by giving their best each day, but employees are also intrinsically motivated because they believe that their job matters and their work will make a difference. They are constantly seeking opportunities to grow, while creating meaningful relationships with clients, colleagues, and customers. In order for your workforce to be purpose-driven, it is imperative that your organization be purpose-driven itself. An organizational purpose, by definition, is an aspirational reason for being beyond for-profit. Purpose is the North Star that guides all long term business strategy, which is activated in all levels of the organization. When the purpose of a company aligns with the purpose of your employees, you achieve the ideal synergy.

The well-known, well-researched impacts of a highly-motivated employee base are, in short, increased creativity, collaboration, innovation, productivity, and profitability. The increased results ultimately give way to a higher revenue. Because one of your responsibilities as CMO is to generate revenue for your company, the value of having purpose-driven employees in your workforce is clearly necessary.

Traditionally, you may search for revenue-generators by penetrating bigger markets, introducing new products, and increasing the customer base, but you should always look beyond pure sales. This is where purpose-driven employees come in. Your employees are key to increasing customer loyalty, building trust, and authentically connecting with your audience.

If you’re ever had a bad customer service experience, you know that nothing connects less than a fake smile, an empty greeting, or a half-hearted reply to a valid customer concern. When someone’s heart is not in their work, they cannot represent your company in an authentic and caring way. But when their heart is fully invested, they become exponentially more effective for the company. When an employee loves bragging about their company, they are a living and breathing ad for your brand. When they can’t stop talking about how they feel good about what they do, you have the opportunity to harness that energy and use it for productivity and business growth.

When employees are simply happy and excited to be where they are, they can become one of your most powerful marketing weapons — brand ambassadors.

  • Employees are always there, so your marketing machine never stops.
  • They tell your stories in an authentic way – in all the right places where you find your customers.
  • Hearing from an insider makes the story more believable, especially when it comes from the heart.
  • There’s less risk of missteps of a brand ambassador when it’s your complete workforce.
  • Marketing budgets are yours to own and even huge ones eventually run out.
  • Marketing campaigns are ‘made up’ and have a short shelf life. Even the most wonderfully crafted and innovative campaigns are not the real deal for your target audiences. Nothing ‘made up’ is the real deal.

Realizing this is one step in the right direction, the next is to understand how you can leverage your workforce and make them your best brand ambassadors. Although it’s tempting to select your favorite employees and ‘hire’ them as storytellers, resist this idea. Instead, try to think more long-term and start at the beginning.

  1. Define and articulate your organization’s overall purpose that is innately supported by all leaders and embraced by all levels of employees.
  2. Activate this purpose internally first before bringing it externally. This may seem counterintuitive and might take a CMO a long time. However, if you do this right, you’ll reap the benefits later. Make sure the company purpose becomes rooted in the culture and is directly aligned with the company’s values. Not until the purpose is activated and lived by your leaders and employees, can you start authentically telling the stories that matter.
  3. Make sure your employees have a clear understanding of how their jobs matter in achieving the company’s purpose. Help them understand how their personal purpose can connect to the bigger purpose.
  4. Once understood and activated, empower employees to share their love. Don’t provide any guidelines and rules, let them be themselves. If you did your job right in the first place, they will be better storytellers than any brand ambassador you could ever hire.
  5. Do not try to attempt this on your own. Not only do you need a close partnership with the Head of People, but you need to also rally the desire and urge to do this among all leaders and most importantly, your CEO.
  6. Be patient. Culture change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long breath, open mindedness, and ongoing diligence.

Time and a deep breath are hard to come by in the world of marketing, but think of it as this: if you’re able to put yourself at the center of this effort, you’re creating the best job security any CMO could wish for. And in the end we’re all happy — the employees for being valued and loved, the customers for loving and believing in your brand, and the CEO for loving and trusting in you.

Purpose-driven employees are your strongest brand ambassadors
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