GET REAL! A CALL FOR HUMANIZING YOUR COMPANY
By Nick Panayi, Director, Global Brand & Digital Marketing, CSC
Being an increasingly enthusiastic student of social media, I’ve challenged my marketing team and indeed my company to go “all in”. This past year we have been all over the major social media sites, we built an ever-expanding internal community of enthusiastic social brand ambassadors, we jumped on Google+ Hangouts on Air the first day it was announced, we’ve set up a comprehensive training curriculum, we frequently engage in deep social buzz “forensics” and we track social buzz signals on an hourly basis. Yet it occurred to me that all of that is just “table stakes”. It’s just not enough to show up.
"To break through you have to truly humanize the brand and let your employees be the genuine, unfiltered voice that customers truly appreciate and wish for."
So, what does it mean to do that? How does a company allow it’s employees to be an organic personification of the brand as opposed to mouthpieces for tightly controlled corporate messaging? How can a large corporation relinquish the tight grip on the “brand image” that it wants to project in the marketplace and be assured that employees will effectively carry that responsibility and help the company achieve its strategic and financial objectives?
I think it all starts with a strategy, a vision, and a company DNA that employees truly buy into. Companies are people. When people are emotionally invested and truly aligned with the vision and mission of the company, they can in turn fuel the most effective brand campaign money can’t buy.
The power of social media is only fully activated when your own employees are honest and passionate advocates of what the company stands for. Once employees truly believe that the company’s path is tightly aligned with their own personal values and career aspirations, magic can happen.
Your customers do business with your employees. Not with the company’s buildings, assets or intellectual property. And everyone knows, they like to do business with people they like. So, let your people be REAL. Let them be who they really are. Alleviate their fear of saying something stupid on Twitter and put the spotlight on all the good they can do by simply being transparent, open and human as they represent the company; whether that is on Twitter, on LinkedIn or at their neighbor’s cocktail party. Give them license to be themselves and give them all the tools and support they need to make that happen. Give them truly valuable content that they can share as a fair value exchange for their client’s time but also allow them to be honest, transparent and generous with their time and expertise in blogs, online communities, town halls, webinars or whatever other social sharing venue you can make available to them.
There is no marketing campaign in the world that will build highly personal, mutually beneficial relationships and true customer advocacy to match what your own employees can do… just by being REAL.
If you are interested to hear more about my thoughts and my company’s efforts in this area pls visit http://www.csc.com/real_voices and let us know your thoughts.