As we in the U.S. take a long Labor Day weekend to celebrate the American worker, it’s a good time for those of us who work in the marketing field to acknowledge the contributions of fellow workers outside our field to the overall marketing and brand experience of our organizations.
Departmental secretaries, faculty members, admissions counselors, groundskeepers — these are the members of our academic communities who often “deliver the brand” to our prospective students and other customers through their daily interactions. Students and alumni, too, are tremendous brand ambassadors for our institutions.
And they all work outside of marketing.
A recent Washington Post article reminded me of just how effective employees of an organization can be in promoting the organization. Citing examples like a Target employee’s Black Friday pep talk and a Southwest Airlines flight attendant rapping safety instructions, the Post‘s Justin Brady concludes that these and other social media sensations result from an atmosphere of trust.
In all of these encounters leaders managed talent through trust and a family-like support system. Employees didn’t fear their leaders, but instead felt empowered and supported.
True leaders create an environment where employees aren’t on eggshells every moment, second guessing every task. Their employees know that if they did truly step out of line, their leader would correct and guide them out of love, not threats to be fired.
A few years ago, a staff member and graduate of the institution where I work who also serves as the cheerleading advisor, captured on video an unusual marriage proposal between two alumni cheerleaders who were back for Homecoming.
Without any help from our department, but through a lot of effort by the staff member, the video made its way to a number of online sites, including CNN. More proof that an empowered employee who feels secure in her job can be a great marketer.
That’s certainly something to cheer about, don’t you think?