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).
Creating an Evangelism-Worthy Brand
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:
- Identify New Opportunities. From creating a more compelling career site to improving the candidate experience, there are always new opportunities to boost an employer’s brand among current and potential employees.
- Evaluate the Competition. Chances are your competitors have their own unique EB initiatives. Auditing the way your competition is building their employer brand can help your Evangelist identify gaps in your branding and stay a step ahead.
- Keep EB Top-of-Mind. When balancing budget and business objectives, it's easy to forget about branding. Your EB Evangelist should be asking “What does this do for our employer brand?” whenever a new HR initiative is proposed.
- Encourage & Facilitate Company-Wide Evangelism. The EB Evangelist should become the go-to individual for employees looking to create ad hoc events (think office celebrations, volunteering opportunities, etc).
- Source and Curate Employee-Created Content. Every employee has an opinion about their employer. The EB Evangelist takes the best of these and helps employees turn them into digestible content (think blog posts or vlogs) for your career site and social sharing.
- Monitor Consistency in Brand Messaging. If you roll out new messaging, it’s important all your employees are onboard. When your otherwise enthusiastic employee evangelists (lowercase “e”) are relaying your employer value proposition in a way that’s completely different to what’s presented on your careers site, potential applicants can feel uneasy.
Identifying Your Employer Brand Evangelist
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.
Option 1: The Recruiter
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
Option 2: The HR Manager
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
Option 3: The Marketer
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
The Evangelist's Most Important Trait
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.