Ok, after 30 years in the beer business you’ll have to excuse the “tapping”, old habits hard to get beyond for sure ! After the wonderful two weeks of Canadian Olympic joy and celebration, I couldn’t help but reflect again on the importance of engaging the front line as brand champions and ambassadors.

After all, who better to be a voice and ambassador for your brand, than those committed individuals that are are creating, designing, making, distributing and selling your products. They live and breathe and rely on the employment of their brands to sustain who they are in their communities. You are paying them for their service and they can help even more if they can represent your brand in their community. They have built in affinity to the brand. The strength of this affinity can be passive or fully engaging. I believe that the degree of affinity to the employer brand is something that is totally in the hands of the employer. And, one must believe (I do anyway) that many of Canadian companies had a lot of proud employees, given the terrific efforts of Sport Chek, Canadian Tire, RBC, Ritz, Molson Canadian during the Sochi games; to name just a few.

To start with, employers need to be very good listeners and open to real feedback and opinion. Do you actually know what the sentiments of your employees are at any given time ? You may or may not like what is being said at “the water cooler”, but you can bet money on it that what is being said there is the “reality” of your business. They are either speaking about what they have heard as truth, or they are surmising what is going on through their own interpretation and building stories off of each others’ interpretations.

So why not harness those conversations ? I’m familiar with an internal social network at Yammer.com that allows for social networking within a company with company emails. It fosters communication, dialogue and casual conversations across the company. It is easy to integrate into your internal communications initiatives.

I have also been impressed with what I have seen and heard from SoapBoxhq.com . They actually harness the front line thinking and turn that into a powerful engagement tool for the employer. It might be about seeking out ideas for new innovations, or something as simple as what food might be offered in a meal plan in the lunch room. The key factor is that all of this encourages harvesting the voice, opinions and engagement of employees to get involved and be active ambassadors and thought leaders within their company. The mind power that can be harnessed within the ranks is powerful. And I believe that loyal employees want to contribute. Why not unleash their creativity and input ? Their voice unheard and not respected is an asset under utilized.

In a world of social media, the employee can play such an important role for the company in telling their stories about the brand, the workplace, their work environment, the creative process, the innovations and the corporate responsibility that their company represents (or not!).

I’d encourage you to check out what SoapBoxhq.com is up to if you want to really get advanced in working with your employees to build internal loyalty, engagement and increased leads for your business.

Cheers to unleashing the power within…your employee brand champions.  And…another big shout out to our Team Canada and the inspiration that they give to our nation. Cheers ! @FergDevins