When I first started at Avidia Bank, only about a year ago, we were in the process of launching our Brand Ambassador program, known as the Avidia Smarties.  These Brand Ambassadors for the Avidia brand not only love their jobs, but enjoy being involved in their community, sharing financial literacy and are very social media savvy! Through this program, we have not only seen our online presence grow but also our presence in the community!

So why Brand Ambassadors? Does this mean that traditional marketing is dead? Not at all. Brand ambassadors do just as their name says. They provide advocacy for the business or organization by becoming thought leaders and subject matter experts in their field. This provides a very personal experience for consumers and even has benefits for the employees. In fact, according to Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer, 41% of people think a company’s employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO and Founder alone. As we have increased our interaction on digital and social, it’s important for people to be reached on channels they are comfortable with and this is becoming more and more evident. 84% of people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing. (Nielsen Research) This is why sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Zomato are a common place people turn to when they make decisions on which business they should visit. According to Hootsuite, a social media management platform, employee networks have 5 times as much reach with messages shared by employees compared to traditional marketing channels. 92% of an employee’s followers are new to the brand and there is 8 times more engagement with content shared by employees compared to the brand’s business social channels.

Advocacy marketing not only helps your business have a better reach, but also inspires employees to engage more and makes them feel more satisfied with their job and company. In a recent Global Workplace Gallup study, they found that 20% of employees who are engaged in their brand socially are more likely to stay at their workplace. 20% are more likely to feel inspired and 15% feel more connected to coworkers beyond their core teams. What is even better is to hear that 27 % are more likely to feel optimistic about their company’s future. Talk about company morale!

We have seen all of this and more come from our Avidia Smarties program and as we approach our one year anniversary, we are excited to see what the next year will bring!