Brand Amper

Why is it important for companies to be transparent about their culture and values? And how can your company build a great employer brand with the use of employee generated content? I had a chat with Lisa Cervenka and Jason Seiden of Brand Amper to find out how to turn employee stories into brand equity.

Here’s how to play chess inside Facebook Messenger and Stephen Fry’s farewell to Twitter, as mentioned at the start of the podcast.

Why do companies need employee generated content?

Simply put, it’s because that’s where candidates and prospects go to look to discover what’s real. We’ve been trained to go beyond the company’s party line. Corporate websites are great, but sites like Glassdoor are becoming the go-to for prospective employees.

And then, Lisa, you often talk about Edelman’s trust survey. So that’s a nice anecdote, but one of the things that Lisa will often go back to is the hard numbers that are actually starting to come up around just how real this move to employee generated content is. So what makes somebody buy, or, in this case, buy into an idea, is determined far more now based on what people in your network say than what experts say, right? People are 90% more likely to trust their network than a brand. The gap between trusting an employee like me versus a CEO is significant. That trend is here to stay and we’re just watching the numbers grow year over year.

What are the challenges with current methods of creating and sharing stories?

The reality is most of the current tools and solutions have everything backward, right? And this is what we saw long before we ever developed our tool. This was something that frustrated us for years. A lot of the solutions out there require company leadership to assume three things. One, that they know who their advocates are, who their employee advocates are. Two, that the employee at large will care enough about the company to engage, right? Meaning that leadership does not think that they need to show employees what’s in it for them. And then three, that leadership can predict which content channels are most important.

And none of those three assumptions are true. And, because of that, your premise is only going to be as good as the assumptions it’s built on. So when they go in and they put in a solution or they develop a process built on thinking they know who their advocates are, thinking that people are going to jump up and partake, and thinking that they can predict where they should be sharing content, it means they end up with all kinds of problems, all kinds of mismatched incentives. And anyway, they all kind of snowball from there.

What are the tech considerations for a company embarking on a program like this?

We’ve got a particular viewpoint on this, and I think it’s a little distinct, and maybe a little here heretical in the space, but we recommend that any time a company brings in a tech vendor that they make sure that that vendor can help you the client implement it and drive engagement at the employee level. We not only hear that need from companies, but interestingly we’ve talked with prospective investors, people who actually invest in HR technology, and we had one person point-blank challenge our focus on implementation and activation. And they were like, “You have to move away from providing that as a service for your clients,” and we’re like, “You’re crazy,” right?

Any technology platform worth its salt is going to make sure that its clients get the help they need implementing its tools. And you pretty much look at any successful software platform out there and you’re going to find an implementation ecosystem that supports it. So I think it’s a critical need, and in today’s world of SaaS implementations, and I swipe my credit card and buy a certain number of seats, you’ve got to make sure you’re still getting the help that you’re going to need in implementing it and making sure that people actually use the software.

Follow Lisa, Jason & Brand Amper on Twitter: @BrandNRD, @Seiden & @BrandAmper.