Zappos.com is an online shopping site that sells clothes, shoes, gift items and more. It’s a site and company that has quickly gained a reputation for being a great place to shop online. According to an article in Advertising Age this week, Zappos.com executives attribute the vast majority of that success to word-of-mouth marketing and leveraging employees as brand champions.
The company even publishes a 300-page Zappos Culture Book each year that is jam-packed with stories from employees about how much they enjoy working at Zappos and what the Zappos culture means to them. And these aren’t just the canned responses you usually read in annual reports. These stories are heartfelt.
I’ve written about the importance of getting employee buy-in on your brand message and promise on Corporate Eye before as well as allowing them to be positive faces of your brand, but Zappos has truly taken the theory to the next level and demonstrated that it really works (although they call it “people planning” as opposed to “branding from within” as I do)!
During a time when more and more corporations are jumping on the social media bandwagon and starting employee blogs, Zappos.com has 13 blogs, including the Inside Zappos blog and the Zappos CEO and COO blog. Zappos.com also uses online video showcased in the ZappoTV blog. Each of these social media outlets helps to spread the word, but its the employees’ belief in the Zappos brand that makes the big difference between the Zappos blog and the Wal-Mart employees blog, CheckOut, for example.
If employee brand champions can work for Zappos.com, why can’t it work for your organization? Take a cue from Zappos and start building your brand from within. Create the ultimate brand guardians and brand champions from your employees, use the marketing tools and social media tools available to you to help spread the word to online and brand influencers, then back up your brand messages and your brand promise by truly delivering on them.
What do you think? Can you do it?