When Iceland Foods first decided to scale up their employee advocate programme using advocacy tech platform Qubist, their goal was to engage and empower staff to talk more about the brand on social media to drive authentic reach, engagement and ultimately sales.
Andy Thompson, Head of Social Communications at Iceland Foods at the time said: “We knew we wanted to scale up our employee advocate programme, we just needed to find the right tool to do it. Qubist allows us to manage this and give us the results to prove to the business just what our internal advocacy programme is doing.”
In the first 3 months alone, the Qubist Iceland Insider app generated over 37 million impressions through employees’ own social channels.
If you’re considering employee advocacy, here are 5 takeaways for success we learned from launching Iceland Foods' programme.
1. A tech solution allows you to scale up your advocacy programme, and why that matters
Individual advocates generally don't have large social media followings of their own, so it's crucial to be able to scale up the numbers of advocates in any programme. By recruiting hundreds of advocates, Iceland Foods was quickly able to get in front of new audiences and extend its reach.
To recruit new employee advocates into the programme, Iceland needed:
- Technology software platform Qubist to manage advocates, and measure and report on activity efficiently
- A strategic advocate methodology, part of the Qubist solution, to allow smooth onboarding and ongoing motivation for advocates
The Qubist Iceland Insiders app means hundreds of employees in different roles and locations can be invited to become advocates.
2. Measuring advocate activity and reporting accurately matters
To measure what works, and optimise as required, Iceland needed a tool that would accurately capture metrics to report back to the senior leadership team.
Qubist tracks advocate sharing activity to identify top performers and shows detailed analytics.
The advocate manager can measure daily activity on an easy to use dashboard, to make informed decisions such as optimising content that was performing well. Being able to report on activity to demonstrate how strategic objectives are met is key, and sharing knowledge among employees to motivate each other.
3. Why employees make the best brand ambassadors and humanise the brand
In an era of fake news and consumer cynicism, being authentic to build customer trust is hugely important. An employee advocacy programme provides the opportunity to humanise a brand.
Employees at Iceland Foods know the products better than anyone and can speak about them naturally and enthusiastically. Using Qubist, Iceland’s colleagues became a bridge between Iceland Foods the company, and its customers.
The impact of an employee sharing content compared to the brand is significant - brand messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when distributed by employees instead of the brand according to MSL Group.
Internally, an advocacy programme builds employee engagement, giving colleagues a way to express their ‘why’ - in this case, both their own purpose and Iceland’s mission.
4. Customise your employee advocacy programme so it's the best for your business
Iceland Foods is a unique business with its own individual history, people and ambition, so advocates needed a customised solution and support, not a cookie cutter tool.
Qubist is customisable which means the Iceland Insiders app was designed to reflect brand colours, imagery and logos. The fun, gamified platform - where employees can win badges such as Power of Frozen, move up the leaderboard and earn rewards all echo existing marketing language .
Content that employees access on a personalised feed feature new campaigns, videos and products, and also good causes such as charity fundraisers that colleagues want to champion. Smart content targeting gives the ability to target content to different groups of advocates within the same programme, based on region, store, role and so on to serve content to advocates most relevant to them.
This key feature of Qubist means programmes are serving relevant timely content to create a personal newsfeed for advocates, who are then more likely to share.
5. Sustainability: Why you need to thinking strategically and long term
The Qubist Iceland Insiders app has been part of a wider initiative at Iceland to think strategically about the rapidly evolving marketing landscape.
As brand marketers witness the death of organic reach on Facebook, the rise of ad blockers and diminishing returns on paid media, employee advocacy is an excellent alternative to bring into an integrated marketing approach building brand awareness and deepening engagement with the most relevant audiences.
The Iceland Insiders employee advocacy programme has had many other benefits:
- Increase employee engagement
- Better staff retention
- Improve employer branding
- Support talent acquisition
- Improved internal comms
- Greater reach for campaigns
The Qubist employee advocacy platform and proprietary Advocate Experience Management methodology allows global brands and businesses to quickly scale measurable word-of-mouth and achieve sustainable results.
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