Employee brand engagement: What is it and how do you achieve it?
If employees don’t connect with your brand, you’ll struggle with inconsistent messages and visual presentation. Here are six ways to boost brand engagement.
Engaging employees with your brand is the first step in building an authentic, recognizable brand for your customers. Unfortunately, engagement levels vary significantly across different departments. Our State of Brand Ownership report found that nearly 90% of C-level executives feel deeply connected to their brand. But only about half of UX professionals feel the same way.
Companies can use established tactics to help employees connect with their brand and improve brand consistency, authenticity, and engagement.
What is employee brand engagement?
Employee brand engagement is the relationship and sense of attachment that employees, investors, and other internal stakeholders have to the brand they work with. When companies think about increasing brand engagement, they usually focus on customer engagement. But your employees directly influence the experience customers have when they interact with your brand. So, engaging them is just as important as engaging your customers.
Employee brand engagement can help improve talent retention by giving employees a reason to stay with your company. CareerArc found that 53% of employees left their jobs because of a “poor or diminishing” employer brand or reputation, which shows how important it is for employees to believe in your brand. And research by Gallup found that just “20% of employees are engaged at work.” But a strong brand can boost that percentage as employees feel connected to the company based on its values and mission, not just their job.
Employees who are engaged with your brand know how it should look and sound. They consider your brand image when connecting with customers and other external parties, so they accurately represent your brand in each interaction.
Engaged employees also help to improve brand authenticity. This is because everyone in the company is involved in creating the brand. It’s not just a marketing project or driven by one person’s idea of what your brand should be. And customers can tell the difference between authentic and inauthentic brands – 88% of consumers say “authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support,” so engaging your employees will help you build a brand that customers trust and connect with.
6 tips to help every team engage with your brand
1. Introduce employees to your brand during new hire onboarding
Introducing new employees to your brand early in their time with your company will help to build brand recognition and help them understand your brand’s mission and purpose.
When a new employee starts at your company, it’s the perfect time to build a connection between them and your brand. In their first few weeks, they’ll complete different onboarding sessions to get to know the company and role. Add some brand-related sessions into their schedule, too.
For example, include a step in their set-up process where you get them to download and install your brand font, logos, and color palettes. And add a session into their onboarding schedule to familiarize them with your brand, mission, and values.
How we do it
As a brand management platform, it’s no secret that brand is important to Frontify. So, as an icebreaker activity, we also ask our new hires what their favorite brand is to get them thinking about the power of brands and what they mean to people. It gets them engaged with our mission by thinking about brands more generally before we bring it back to the Frontify brand and purpose.
We also run specific onboarding sessions to introduce new people to our brand, which we separate from sessions about our platform and the different teams.
2. Encourage employees to share feedback and ideas
Ensure all your employees know how and where they can share feedback and comments relating to the brand. This gives them a sense of ownership over the brand because they’ve played a role in its development. You could set up a dedicated Slack channel, an online form, or even an old-fashioned suggestions box. Then, encourage employees on customer-facing teams to share the insights they get from your customers. For example, if new messaging doesn’t resonate, or they don’t feel as connected to the brand as they used to.
Additionally, invite people from every department to attend brand meetings – for example, if you’re going through a rebrand or making updates to your existing brand. Your employees will feel involved in the conversation and that they can influence the direction and evolution of your brand, so it remains an authentic representation of your shared values.
How we do it
At Frontify, we got our whole team involved during our rebrand in 2020. We wanted to get as many people’s opinions as possible, what it meant to our team, and the direction we should take it so our updated brand felt authentic to our employees. Our team completed questionnaires about our values, and customer-facing departments were involved in many conversations about our updated brand messages.
Brand is more than just how your marketing looks or what your sales team says. Our brand values shape our company and inform how we make decisions. So, we also ensure our employees are involved and get a say in all our big decisions – the rebrand is just one example.
3. Educate employees on how their role contributes to customers’ perception of your brand
In many companies, there’s a perception that “brand” is something that only your marketing team owns rather than something that anyone co-owns and can influence. Before your employees engage with your brand, they need to understand how they contribute to it.
As we’ve already seen, introducing new employees to your brand is an important part of onboarding. But you should also run role or department-specific brand training to help employees understand how their role affects how customers see and experience your brand. For example:
- Sales reps are the first people that potential customers speak to at your company. They give the first impression of your brand in real life.
- Customer support agents are the people your customers will engage with most often at your company, but only when they have a problem or need support. The customer support experience must reflect your brand values so your customers continue to trust your brand.
- Your leadership team is the public face of your company. They are the people most likely to represent your brand at events or in the media.
Once your employees understand how they personally help to build your brand, you can give them tools and resources to help them communicate your brand.
How we do it
At Frontify, we run an ongoing project to help and encourage people across the company to share their knowledge and expertise to strengthen their personal brand. This could mean speaking at a conference, going on a podcast, or posting regularly on social media.
We provide advice on what to share and help with writing and design. Additionally, we give employees access to all our brand guidelines, tips, and resources to help them present their expertise in the best possible way.
These activities strengthen our employees’ brands and demonstrate their experience, but they also contribute to the Frontify brand. They show who we are – a company that understands that the most important part of any brand is the people behind it.
4. Empower employees to access and use brand materials in their work
An important part of employee brand engagement is getting people to use your brand assets and materials in their work. Doing so helps improve brand consistency across different individuals and teams because everyone uses the same logo, color palette, or messaging.
Many companies accidentally create information and resource silos. Their brand materials live in different folders or on someone’s local drive, so only a handful of people can use them. This creates the feeling that not everyone is allowed to use your brand assets, which makes it hard for employees to engage with your brand.
You can avoid these resource silos by using a cloud-based brand management platform. It brings all your brand materials together in one centralized location that everyone can access. As a result, you remove accidental gatekeepers from the creative process and enable everyone to use your brand materials anytime.
How we do it
We use our Brand Platform to ensure everyone on our team can access our brand materials, including:
- Brand guidelines to improve consistency of visual designs
- Libraries of completed assets that are ready for anyone to use
- Templates with editable sections so employees can create their own brand materials, like images to add to their social media posts
We store all our brand materials on our Brand Home – from images and videos to documents and icons. So, no matter what type of asset or resource our employees are looking for, they can find it quickly and easily. This boosts engagement because our team feels empowered to find and use our brand assets without having to ask for access to the files every time.
5. Foster a personal and emotional connection between employees and the brand
If employees have an emotional connection to the brand, they’ll have a sense of pride and ownership over it, which means they’ll care more about how it’s perceived externally.
Your brand values help employees connect with your brand on a personal level. Use those values to influence and support your decision-making and reference them when giving employees praise and feedback. This will help your team feel like they’re working for a company where its values really mean something, rather than just sounding good on paper.
How we do it
At Frontify, one of our core beliefs is: Engage Everyone. We value openness, participation, and connection because they help to build engaged, connected, and collaborative teams.
We bring this belief to life by bringing our people together – literally. Every year we have an “All Here Week” where we bring together all our employees worldwide. They get to meet, connect, and enjoy a week together in person at our head office in Switzerland. This event helps our team build and strengthen their connection to the company and the brand because we’re living out one of our core values.
6. Make your brand visible so employees encounter it every day
Your employees will find it difficult to connect with your brand if it feels like something abstract that they never see. But if your brand is something they regularly encounter as part of their workday, they engage with it more often and more easily.
Brand visibility is especially important for fully remote employees who don’t have any physical interactions with the company. Make your brand visible for in-office and remote employees by considering all the online and offline places employees interact with the company and each other, such as:
- Your office
- Their (home or in-office) desk
- Slack channels
- Company social events
Bring elements of your brand into each place, such as swag for them to use at home or adding custom emojis to the company Slack to represent your brand values. These seemingly small things help make your brand visible to your employees, becoming something they recognize.
How we do it
At Frontify, we welcome all our new hires with a welcome box of company swag on their first day. This gets our employees excited about joining us (who doesn’t love a delivery that’s not bills or junk mail) and helps them see the brand as a core part of the company.
We also look for ways to incorporate branding elements into our office design and decor. For example, we have signs for each department in our brand colors and use some of our brand patterns.
We want our employees to experience our brand frequently so it becomes familiar. We make our brand visible in lots of small ways and places, so our team experiences different elements of our brand throughout the day.
Give employees the tools they need to engage with your brand
If you make it difficult for employees to access and use your brand materials, they won’t engage with your brand. Instead, they’ll feel like it’s not for them and just something for the marketing team to worry about.
Brand-building software removes the barriers that often block employees from engaging with your brand, such as poor brand awareness or lack of access to brand materials. Learn more about how brand-building software helps improve employee brand engagement (and strengthen your brand).