By Doug WilberA “culture ambassador” is essentially a company cheerleader—someone who’s always engaged and enthusiastic about building, maintaining, and sharing an excellent culture within a workplace. Banks need culture ambassadors to show both potential customers and potential employees what separates them from the competition. After all, a bank’s culture goes beyond a logo, some standard messaging, and a service line. It’s about the brand personality.
What many banks don’t realize, however, is that their best culture ambassadors are their current employees. Banks should give enthusiastic employees the platform they need to amplify their voices. When a bank’s own employees are its cheerleaders, people start seeing the bank as more than a faceless company. By tapping into employees’ personal networks, banks build consumer trust and expand their audience exponentially.
To illustrate, imagine that you’re searching for a new bank. A simple Google search for nearby banks generates several results. The first is one you’re familiar with. You’ve seen people in your social networks post about it online, and a few of your acquaintances who work there are always raving about the workplace culture. Right below is another brand you’ve heard of—but the only thing you know about it is that it offers some cool products and services. Which option are you more likely to pursue? For most, the answer is obvious.
Empower your cheerleaders.
How do you use employees to market bank culture and build trust? Try these three tips:
- Align with changing culture preferences.
Today’s professionals aren’t looking for the same workplace cultures their parents did. For instance, young recruits are just as likely to ask a potential employer about its corporate social responsibility program as they are to ask about pay and growth opportunities. Additionally, the next generation expects its employers to actively build a diverse workplace throughout every rung of the corporate ladder—from bank tellers to managers to C-suite executives.
Banks can benefit greatly from building and promoting a culture that aligns with changing preferences. One study, for instance, reported that turnover rates at companies with strong cultures hovered around 14 percent. In comparison, turnover rates at companies with weak cultures were as high as 48.4 percent.
- Go where the people are.
Traditional forms of advertising (such as print, TV, and radio) are often too passive to build meaningful relationships. Most younger audiences don’t pay attention to interruptive messaging anyway—and 71 percent of consumers in the younger generation say they’d rather visit the dentist than hear a financial institution’s message. Ouch! So your second order of business is to think about ways to use new channels to better reach your audience.
Social media is an ideal engagement vehicle because consumers are already there—and they’re looking to interact. Banks benefit because they can promote their cultures in real time. Plus, by nature, social media is set up to foster two-way dialogue, so banks can stop talking at consumers and start talking with them.
- Bring employees to the forefront.
Young professionals don’t want to be passive bystanders in their company’s culture. They want to help build and promote it, humanizing their employers in the process. So harness your employees’ social networks to distribute branded content. Doing so will increase trust and turn your employees into thought leaders. According to LinkedIn, consumers are twice as likely to engage with a social media post when it comes directly from employees, rather than the brand itself.
That said, while employees are your best messengers, they shouldn’t own the content creation process. Consistency is key when it comes to social selling, and you need to ensure that all content aligns with compliance standards. Instead, create and distribute branded content for employees’ personal pages.
Employees are the lifeblood of any institution, and getting them publicly engaged and active on behalf of the company is the best way to show the world how the banking industry has changed. New recruits and customers need to know that their banks care about them, and how they treat their employees is usually a clear indicator.
Doug Wilber is the CEO of Gremlin Social, an integrated solution that combines social media marketing with ABA-endorsed compliance tools to make it easy for financial services companies to master the social media landscape and engage customers using social networks. Gremlin Social helps ensure safe use of social media communication while maximizing social marketing campaigns, guiding strategies, and monitoring returns on investment. Doug has worked in the fintech space for more than a decade and has experience working with Discover Financial Services, PYMNTS.com, and Assembly Payments, among others. He’s also advised a number of fintech-focused startups in the Greater St. Louis area.