Corporate Eye

Would Your Employees Nominate Your Company for a Best Place to Work Award?

I’ve written about the importance of internal brand advocates and branding from within your organization before on the Corporate Eye blog, and today, I’m going to revisit the topic by asking a question.

Would your employees nominate your company for a best place to work award?

Each year, various organizations hold “best companies to work for” awards programs.  Advertising Age published a call for nominees for its own Best Places to Work award earlier this month.  Do your employees believe in your company and your brand promise enough to nominate your company for such an award?  If your answer to that question is no, then you need to invest more time into building internal brand advocates.

If your employees don’t feel good about your company and believe your brand promise, then why should customers?  The answer is simple.  Customers won’t believe.

Your employees should be your first source for positive word-of-mouth marketing.  They can be your strongest brand advocates and most vocal brand guardians.

Not sure what internal brand advocates look like?  Spend some time on the Zappos corporate site.  Watch the videos, read about the Zappos culture and core values.  You’ll learn very quickly what people who believe in their company and brand promise look like, sound like, and are capable of in terms of brand advocacy.

The next question is whether or not you can do it in your organization, too.  Remember, internal brand advocacy comes from the top.  Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to the Zappos brand promise, and Zappos employees believe.  If your leaders don’t buy it, then your employees won’t buy it.  And that means customers won’t buy it either.

Image: stock.xchng

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

I recently left a company that repeatedly won awards for being a “best place to work.” I tried to figure out how they got the award as the people with whom I worked did NOT like working for that company. They found the company structure frustrating and divisive — their core values to the contrary.

If a company is going to be nominated, the only way to make the connection with customers is to make it authentically a place people would like to work. I don’t believe customers are long fooled by companies who work hard to game the system so they can use the award for PR.

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