All employees play critical roles in serving as brand advocates. No matter where they make a connection with the marketplace, that experience must be consistent and reflect the mission, vision and values of your brand.

Brand advocacy starts with leadership
If top leadership within an organization lives and breathes the brand, employees are much more likely to embrace it as well. It is therefore critical that an organization’s CEO leads by example and always acts as an advocate on behalf of the brand.

Give employees the information they need
Employees can’t be brand advocates if they don’t understand the brand. Therefore, it’s important to communicate the organization’s brand to employees—both implicitly and explicitly. Train employees on the key messages about your organization’s brand and incorporate this messaging into all internal communications that are touched by employees. Also provide employees with brand books or guidelines that demonstrate how to communicate the brand—verbally, written and visually.

Provide employees with opportunities to “live” the brand
Once employees understand the organization’s brand, it is critical to provide them with tangible ways to be brand advocates. At Yahoo, some employees allow their vehicles to be painted with the Yahoo logo. Of course, this might seem extreme to some, so it is important that employees have options so they can choose a brand advocacy role with which they feel comfortable.

Recognize brand advocates
It’s important to shine the spotlight on employees who are bringing the brand to life within the organization. This encourages brand advocates to keep up the good work and also shares concrete examples to inspire others to get involved. Feature these individuals in employee newsletters, video broadcasts or other internal channels. Westin Resorts, for example, gives guests lapel pins when they check in and asks them to give the pin to an employee if they feel that employee has exceeded expectations. This type of recognition helps to build a personal connection between consumers and the brand.

Source: Jenny Schade is president of JRS Consulting, Inc.