We just posted an interesting article on our social media platforms regarding “Engaged Internal Customers.” [https://www.facebook.com/dramshopmedia/posts/625685100967960] Those engaged internals are your employees, and they are vital to your brand’s success. Your social media strategy could be flawless, but if your employees don’t buy in, your customers will take notice and they will publicly shame you.
“After all, in an age of social media and instant communication, if your culture stinks, your customers will feel it. And if your people don’t understand and empathize with your customers, those customers will tell you about it, and the whole world will witness you being reprimanded.”
Dramshop Media works closely with the alcohol beverage industry and we have encountered two instances that are symbolic of how employees can enhance a brand’s culture/message or ruin it altogether.
The first example is an epic failure – luckily by one of our client’s competitors – that lost a huge chunk of market share with a single yet colossal demonstration of brand failure. Dramshop was contracted to assist with the very competitive whiskey demographic. We had focused our social media strategy on attracting members of a local Bourbon Society – a coveted demographic in any market due to their loyalty, brand knowledge and (most importantly) word of mouth communication. We were making inroads when a windfall occurred at the expense of the aforementioned competitor. One of their employees had gained access to the store’s social media contacts and reached out via text to some members of the local Bourbon Society in an effort to sell a hard-to-find bottle of whiskey. Problem was, it was the employee’s bottle and he was trying to sell it for 5x market value. Needless to say, the society members were incensed. Social media posts started immediately, calling out the store by name and encouraging other members to take their business elsewhere.
In today’s marketing environment, your brand goes well beyond your logo and your creative output. Social media and reputation management are vital components in determining a company’s success or failure. As demonstrated in the real-world example above, employees play a huge role in brand execution. The cost of poor employee experience is more than just a lost opportunity. Emphasis on the brand plan and company culture should be as routine as inventory controls, because if your employees don’t buy in, there is little chance your customers will.
The second example involves a client’s employee going above and beyond to promote a current marketing campaign. To attract active duty military personnel (and reward them for their service) our client introduced a Military Discount promotion. After several weeks of steady growth, the promotion was kicked into overdrive when an employee asked a service member if she could take a photograph with him to help spread the word on social media. The caption of the photo (seen below) was “Our clerks love a man in uniform!” The details of the promotion were included in the Facebook post as well as other social media platforms. The post went viral and generated an immediate boost in sales for that particular store. Without any advertising dollars, the brand’s image was enhanced due to its dedication to members of the military. More importantly, the retailer reaped the benefits of increased sales do to an engaged employee who bought in to the company’s message and culture.
The takeaway from the examples given above is simple: dedicate time and energy each week to reinforce and expound on your company’s culture and how your marketing goals reinforce those values. Engaged Internal Customers will contribute to your business in key areas of growing sales, communicating with your audience and saving money.