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In marketing circles, “evangelism marketing” refers to the creation of viral, organic traction among a brand’s customers. The idea is that consumers love the product so much, they take on a marketing role of their own, voluntarily convincing their friends and family to buy the product. This same sort of brand evangelism is also at play in the world’s most admired companies: employee “evangelists” naturally and organically share their workplace experiences and urge those in their network to join them. Since referrals are consistently the best source of high-quality hires, building an evangelism-worthy brand should be a primary goal for talent acquisition (and for HR more generally).
While a some organizations - usually high-profile, popular, consumer-facing brands - have no difficulty engendering evangelism in the workplace, most will require a more concerted effort. For these, the identification of a specific Employer Brand Evangelist (capital “E”) is useful for keeping employer brand top-of-mind when developing new initiatives and spearheading new branding opportunities. The Employer Brand Evangelist has six main responsibilities:
The ideal EB Evangelist is a combination marketer, recruiter, and HR professional. In a perfect world, the “Evangelist” role would be allocated headcount, but for many organizations this is unrealistic. Assuming that the Evangelist will be an existing individual within your company, it’s important to find a role whose existing duties crossover with the responsibilities listed above.
Recruiters are in a unique position to evaluate your organization’s branding position in respect to your immediate competitors. Since they are on the front line of talent acquisition, they see first-hand what is working and what is not. Existing Synergies: 1, 2, 3
HR managers run your employee engagement initiatives, and probably already play a role in the organization of employee-driven events. They have the existing internal connections and workflow to get an employee-driven branding strategy off the ground. Existing Synergies: 3, 4, 5
If marketing will lend you a hand, a marketer has a skillset ready-made for monitoring brand messaging, evaluating the competition, and sourcing internal stories. Existing Synergies: 2, 5, 6
Ultimately, the most important trait for the Evangelist is a deep-rooted enthusiasm for their employer (the second most important is having enough time to do their job). An Evangelist who is fully committed to spreading your brand will find a way to do so, so long as you give them the time and a platform.