August 4, 2011
Employees are the New Corporate Brand Ambassadors
In the new digital workplace we’re all corporate brand ambassadors; employees that represent their organizations and themselves. The harsh reality is that most companies don’t have a social media policy in place (in the United States it’s 29%) and haven’t created a culture that embraces the changing behaviors of the new digital worker. This new hybrid type of worker is hyper-connected and has the responsibility of managing the blurring lines between their personal and professional lives. If harnessed properly the new digital worker has untapped potential that could be invaluable to the corporations that they represent.
What is a corporate brand ambassador?
Whether you’re working for a big corporation or yourself, corporate brand ambassadors are all about representation. Employees make for great brand ambassadors because the best representative are those who have direct contact with a brand, also they share the following characteristics:
- We all have voices
- We all have networks
- We all have influence/reach
- We share things that we are passionate about
- We are typically hyper-connected
As a corporate brand ambassador, who do you represent?
Everything that you say and do as a corporate brand ambassador impacts all of the entities you represent and are connected to personally and professionally. The creation of Twitter and Facebook has changed the workplace forever. Today, your online activity during and after business hours could impact the brands that you represent. Remember, corporate and personal accounts have to be managed properly.
- Corporate Accounts: If your job requires you to post from a corporate branded social network profile you have specific requirements and obligations to the company that must be met. Because you’re representing something other than yourself as an individual, corporate accounts should always be used with the brand’s overall voice and vision in mind.
- Portable Personal Brand: Every person should have a portable personal brand that moves with them if they change careers and/or employers. This includes your digital “rental propertyâ€ (social networks like Twitter) and digital “real estateâ€ that you own (your dot com/online hub). While you have more freedom with your personal brand, you have to remember that your business is your brand so don’t do or say anything to tarnish either.
Who is responsible?
Is the employer or the employee responsible for the digital workplace? This is a very broad question with many different answers, but the short answer is that the responsibility is shared. It is the corporation’s responsibility to create a framework for their employees to properly use the various social media tools available to them. On the other hand, the employees have the responsibility to monitor and manage their corporate and personal ecosystems that balances every move, decision, and status update that they make.
As corporate brand ambassadors we have a shared responsibility to ourselves and the corporations we represent to perform on their behalf, which is mutually beneficial. As early adopters, corporate brand ambassadors will play an integral part in helping to establish the culture digital workplace that will impact future workers and company culture. The question remains; what are you doing to be a valuable brand ambassador for your personal and professional brands?
Let me know how portable your personal brand is in the comments section, and be sure to check back next Wednesday for my next tech column. Until then, continue the conversation on my BE Insider page at beinsider.ning.com/HajjEFlemings or on Twitter @HajjFlemings.