Who makes a reliable brand ambassador?

by Katrin Koha, Nortal's employer branding lead

What an employee says about a company travels eight times further than what the company says about itself.

According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, the general public views non-executive company employees as significantly more reliable information sources than the leadership, or even the press representatives of a company.

The study asked “Who do you trust the most?” in six categories (e.g. how does the company treat its employees or clients, their economic results, innovation, etc.). The overall results show that an average of 37.2% of respondents considered an ordinary employee the most reliable source of information, while only 21.5% trusted the CEO the most.

It is important to note that in the segment about a company’s treatment of its employees and clients, a strong 53% majority responded that they would trust what the ordinary employees say, and only 17% found the leader the most reliable.

This goes to show how important the portrayal of a company is, the working environment, and the work by middle managers, specialists, and supporting staff, i.e. the ordinary employees. But that’s not where it ends. Unsuccessful job applicants can also be regarded as brand ambassadors, because they will recount their impressions and experiences of the company to their acquaintances. As a note – Nortal has received a lot of positive feedback during interviews with potential employees for being very upfront about everything; starting from the recruitment stage.

Interestingly, the study showed that the more direct and personal channels of multidirectional communication are seen as more reliable. Namely, the same Trust Barometer study showed that if a choice is given between two channels – social media or advertising – 62% of respondents would trust the social media channels of the company over their advertisements, which only 38% of respondents would prefer.

Another interesting finding, highlighted in the conclusions of the study, showed that when respondents were asked whether they trusted a person with a more spontaneous versus a careful/practiced style of speech, or someone with a direct versus a diplomatic/polite style of speech, 57 and 54% of respondents, respectively, favored the spontaneous and direct style, while only 43 and 46%, respectively, would put more trust in someone with a polished and diplomatic style.

People appreciate honest and sincere communication. They are willing to forgive a lack of polish, but not boring sales talk.

It is fair to say that a company is only as capable, smart, and successful as its team. People find it important to have a meaningful job, but they also want their opinion to carry weight. People want to be included and trusted, they want feedback to be given as a normal part of the work culture, and they need to feel that this is all done sincerely, not just as a token gesture.

We know that we have selected the best people to work in Nortal – the absolute top professionals of their fields. Our people are our biggest asset, which is why we invest in them and trust them, offering them both freedom, and responsibility in their daily work, so that they can fully realize their potential.

A variety of internal and external training programs play an important role. This means that we are not relying solely on existing competencies but maintain a steady pace of development. We are also supporting our staff with the necessary infrastructure so that they can create, shape, and define their role at Nortal by themselves.

Behind a strong brand, stand well-informed, involved, and motivated employees who keep contributing to the shape of the brand and who carry its story further.