Crisis and internal brand ambassadors, a luxury booster

Internal brand ambassador programs (employee advocacy) are usually carried out as a reinforcement of corporate branding. But as I wrote in another Post, one of the functions to take into account such programs is to help combat a crisis.

Crisis? Until now fear prevailed over opportunity

The usual thing for companies is to think that it is employees who can cause a crisis; the half-empty cup theory has been imposed on the half-full. But today, you have to be blind not to see it with a contrary perspective: The (badly called) employees are professionals committed to a project, excellent spokespersons and bearers of corporate values.

The challenge of a crisis (and all companies suffer from them) it's always easier when you've prepared the defense beforehand. Organizations often have a crisis manual that usually provides for protocols and those responsible for implementing them in the event of a crisis.

But that manual has been out of step if you don't take into account the main factor of business trust between the organization and the market: Employees, people like us and technical experts and academics (see summary Edelman Trust 2017).

The secret: humanizing brands and organizations

The idea is obvious, people want to communicate with people, not with abstract entities like companies or brands. That puts business professionals as the main drivers of trust. Like paper and bits take it all, I prefer to illustrate it with a real example:

A crisis with Banco Sabadell

I manage my finances with Banco Sabadell since the demise of Banca Jover, my old trusted bank, In 1999. I've always been treated great. In 2013, However, I suffered an unexpected mishap: without a word, I was canceled a credit policy via burofax.

In fact, I never applied for the policy, they offered it to me insisting that I wouldn't have any costs if I didn't use it. After more than 10 years without using, In 2013 and because of different treasury circumstances, I used it. And that's when it was canceled without warning.

I decided to act in the same way as the bank, and I posted a post on this very blog denouncing this amazing practice. Logically, I shared the post on social media.

Banco Sabadell's online reputation alert system soon detected the potential crisis that could arise. Two minutes to issue the tweet, the community manager, from your personal account, asked me to "follow back" so he could send me a direct message. In the message he asked me for a phone. They didn't happen. 10 minutes of giving the phone when I was contacted by the bank's branch manager apologizing for the error, a communication error.

It appears that the bank had no intention of arbitrarily canceling the policy. What happened is that there was a change in the interest rate, and forgot to let me know.. By failing to respond, your CRM understood that I wasn't interested in sticking with the policy, and the rest is already the burofax.

Obviously, the policy was reinstituted and everyone happy. A few days later I removed the post.

What I can assure you is that I would not have responded to a tweet issued by Banc Sabadell. I did it because a person like me addressed me, named after him, last name and soul.

My current relationship with Banco Sabadell is not only good but, for things in life, I've even given talks to some of their managers working with the ISAVIA.

Two-way communication or death

This example highlights the importance of avoiding at all costs the one-way communication that still prevails - unfortunately- in many organizations.

Just like people, companies can make mistakes, But they can't respond with a bot to something that affects a person's values and beliefs, and less in a crisis situation. The bot can be helpful as an ultra-fast first response "in a few moments a professional of our company will contact you". But then equal-to-equal communication is required. And there comes the role of the professional as ambassador and spokesperson for the brand.

Assign responsibilities and protocols crisis

By this I do not mean that all responsibility is put in employees to solve a crisis. Obviously there's a communication department that's the one who has to take charge of the matter..

The employee acts here as reinforcement that brings credibility and confidence. Special measures are required in the crisis phase. It's time to prove that all companies are human and that companies are the sum of the people who support them.


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by Guillem Recolons

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