While there are many ways to build a brand image, the best ambassadors for any company are the satisfied employees and clients. Their experiences act as significant indicators of how they interact with your company and perceive your brand.
The link between R & R and brand image
Despite constant advancement of HR tech and in-depth study of office psychology, many organisations are still not tapping into the possibility of using rewards and recognition (R&R) to enhance brand image. It has been proven time and again that R&R initiatives have a direct impact on various parameters, such as improving retention, work alignment, engagement, ROI, and so on. However, the scope of R&R is not limited to that. If done right, R&R has the capacity to significantly turn employees into brand ambassadors and ignite brand evangelism.
Did you know that reviews, contents and remarks shared or written by employees, receive higher engagement than corporate brand channels? Leads generated from employee social marketing are seven times more likely to get converted.
Case – Orange
Orange, is a multinational telecommunications corporation known for promoting its brand through its reward and recognition programme. During structural changes a few decades back, the staff was suffering from confusion and were unsure of what the Company stood for. That was when the Company decided to focus on internal branding. It rebranded its internal reward and recognition programme to promote its company values. Its R&R revolved around the concept of trees and branches (a theme around which the Company values are created). It was like hitting two targets with one arrow —
1) The idea of R&R conceptualisation kept the employees curious and interested.
2) Visual prompts of a ‘tree’ in the R&R offerings (such as in the badges or ‘thank you’ cards) helped Orange connect their employees with their key company values and brand identity.
Benefits of using rewards & recognition to enhance your brand image
1. Humanises brand image: Cash rewards and discount vouchers are short-lived. Experiential rewards, on the other hand, can go a long way. Experiential rewards, such as vacation getaways, adventure tours, nature treks, health care and restaurant treats give employees the gift of choice. Such rewards help the organisation strike an emotional connect with the employees. Employees are more likely to share photos and videos of their experiences on social media or by word-of-mouth with their family and friends, further lifting the humanised image of the organisation.
2. Gives a unique edge: Traditional recognition programmes have limited award categories (like the best performer, LSA) and are given away either quarterly or annually. However, if you are opting for new-age R&R programmes that take both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards into account, it will keep employees intrigued and engaged for a longer period of time. It will also make them view your company as ‘cool’ and dynamic. This will lead to brand evangelism that is more organic and self- initiated.
3. Helps you attract more new talent: They say, ‘talent attracts talent’, and it is true. Employees have their own personal network of people working in a field similar to theirs. Instead of spending time and money on job portals, try incentivising internal recruitment through a robust R&R programme. Apart from gaining new talent, you will get employees and new hires who are accountable for one another.
4. Empowers employees to become the first line of defence against negative exposure: Your employees are the face of your brand. Hence, if there is a small slip or mishap, your employees will act as a more effective defence than anything else. But to do this, your employees should trust you and be loyal to you. What better way to ensure that than an R&R programme? A good R&R programme does much more than motivate. It helps the company build a work culture that is strong, positive, responsible and can withstand any problem that is thrown in its way.
You need to boost your employee recognition and employee rewards. That is the very first step. If each and every employee feels valued, the workforce will be more productive and will talk more positively about the business.