How Adobe Empowers Its Employees to be Brand Ambassadors

June 3, 2015

If someone asked who the most influential person at your company is, many people would be quick to name the CEO. It’s a reasonable assumption.

For years, Cory Edwards, Head of Adobe’s Social Business Center of Excellence, made this same assumption and fought to get the C-suite on social.

However, Cory was struck one day when he saw the results that one employee’s social media efforts were driving. That month, this particular evangelist had driven more revenue for the company than its branded social networking properties, like @Adobe on Twitter.

Needless to say, Cory decided to dig a little deeper, realizing that perhaps the opportunity to carry the flag for the brand didn’t need to fall to the CEO.

And he was right. According to an Edelman’s Annual Trustbarometer Study, the everyday employee is 2x more trusted than a company’s CEO. 

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That mean’s that the best ambassadors for your brand – the people that are going to help you get top candidates attention and get them in the door – are your day-to-day employees.

Transforming employees into brand ambassadors

Cory’s new insight let him to launch Adobe’s Social Shift Program, that educates the company’s employees on the company’s social media guidelines, shares best practices for social sharing and ultimately helps them to become brand ambassadors. And, unlike other social training programs, it helps teach and test an employee’s judgment through various scenarios to build their knowledge and confidence.

To get employees on to take the program and get onboard socially, Cory and team created this short video. It’s fun, fact-filled, and motivational. If you want to take the program after watching it, then you and I are on the same page.

So far, 30% of Adobes employee’s have been trained globally and more and more are sharing without fear of saying or doing something wrong. In fact, according to an independent employee social research group, SociaLook, Adobe’s employees are the most social group of employees among all technology companies.

How the talent acquisition team activates brand ambassadors

Once employees go through the Social Shift program, Natalie Kessler, Head of Employment Branding at Adobe, makes sure they are given opportunities to become brand champions and tell the company’s story. That’s because building the employer brand and awareness means higher quality candidates.

Here are five key ways Natalie’s team transforms Adobe employees into brand ambassadors:

1. Encourages employee blogging on Adobe Life

When it started, the Adobe blog, or “Adobe Life,” had only 400 visitors per month. Today, it has 10,000 a month. The goal of the blog is to “share a behind-the-scenes view of what it’s like to work at Adobe from the perspective of [its] employees.” It includes employee interviews with each other, employee blog posts, pictures, videos, and live tweets. The blog content is also syndicated to other parts of the business for further optimization.

Adobe-life-blog

2. Inspires and celebrates social sharing

To get employees to engage with the brand, Adobe makes things fun. For example, they frequently hold contests. One example was a t-shirt design contest asking employees to design what “Adobe life” means to them. This created a high level of social engagement and t-shirts sold out within just a few days.

Natalie’s team also ensures that employees are constantly reminded to share out by placing “tell the world what you like about adobe #AdobeLife” decals in high traffic areas in every office. And, the team also integrates the #AdobeLife campaign into every employee event held.

Once they start sharing, Natalie pointed out that employees like to be acknowledged for their efforts. So, on a weekly basis, the employee communications team searches the Internet for photos and messages employees are sharing using #AdobeLife and highlights some of the best on Adobe’s digital signage in every office. This routine encourages employees to continue to share and reassures them that their efforts are appreciated and making a difference.

3. Created a special brand ambassador program

In September 2014, the Corporate Reputation team assembled 21 employees from 7 different locations to take part in Adobe’s brand ambassador program. These employees were selected based on the fact they were already doing a great job sharing socially and they were asked to help tell the Adobe story.

Adobe-Ambassadors

This group of brand ambassadors is pre-briefed on Adobe announcements before they become public and given the chance to be the first to share. Recently, two of these employees were sent to Adobe’s annual creativity conference, MAX, and asked to share key learnings and updates. The result? They generated 5.5 million impressions in just 5 days. In comparison, the Adobe Life blog generates about 2 million impressions per month.

4. Encourages employees to publish on LinkedIn

Every member has the capability to publish on LinkedIn, so it’s a great opportunity for employees to share what they are working on, learning about, or inspired by at their company.

At Adobe, they strategically use LinkedIn’s publishing platform when they have a hard-to-fill position. To help fill the role, they ask hiring managers and teams to publish posts about the projects they are working on that can be shared publically. This increases awareness and peeks potential candidates interests in what the team is working on.

Natalie recommends identifying key spokespeople and asking them to be a voice for your company and publish on LinkedIn consistently.

5. Asks employees to put their reviews on Glassdoor

Although it may feel odd asking employees to put reviews on Glassdoor, that shouldn’t stop you, says Natalie. That’s because Glassdoor is a big source of influence for passive candidates. When they are deciding if they want to come in for an interview, a large number of candidates will go to Glassdoor to validate a company. Positive employee reviews encourage them to give your company a shot.

Adobe-glassdoor

Takeaway

Never underestimate the power of employee evangelism. There’s no one better for bringing in referrals and creating engagement with your organization. Get started by setting them up for success with social training and giving them the tools they need to be influential brand ambassadors.

For more tips on how to turn your employees into brand ambassadors and get them sharing professional content, download our free eBook, Strengthen Your Talent Brand: 4 Steps on Empowering Employees to Share Professional Content.

*Image from Adobe

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