The Enemy Within – Protect your Brand from the Inside

There are brands that are a delight to engage with. You know who they are. You are their biggest fans. You speak about them at every opportunity, at dinner parties, reunions, parent teacher meetings, the occasional Starbucks Meetup. Even Online.

Consumers want everyone to know about a brand that has changed their life. Your brand's biggest fans are brand ambassadors.

Online in Social Media, these brand ambassadors share your content, like your posts and go out of their way to write stellar reviews on your Facebook pages. Now, you may not be aware of it, but most of these brands have happy employees, a great corporate culture, bonuses, holidays, paid training, days off, etc... Now, the employees of a company like this just toot their company's horn all over the place. These are the internal brand ambassadors.

While brands enjoy the limelight online, it is also the venue where brands get beat up the most. From customers, competitors, and yes. Their own internal employees.

Bad Apples Cause Damage

It could be a small chain in your hometown, where the employees are always goofing off, perhaps even cursing in front of customers, employees, long shifts, low pay, long hours, 7 day alternate work weeks. They just don't look like they are happy to be there. Can you imagine this community of employees being allowed to run amok on Social Media without any type of SM training or safeguards in place?

Businesses need to keep their employees engaged. Constantly. They need to take interest in their development, training. They need to provide good benefits. They need to keep them part of their community. Otherwise, if these employees don't feel part of anything or are appreciated, this could cause some damage.

So, the time is ripe to investigate and gain insight into the inner workings of your company's internal brand culture. Take a look at just a few indicators:

Your brand has service level issues

Your brand's products are always being returned or being sold on Ebay

Sick days among your employees is higher than the norm

Employees resist change

If any of these are the case, then your brand might be suffering from Employee Disengagement Syndrome (or EDS).

When your employees are rotting away at your company, this is known as “cultural entropy”. This happens when there are conflicts, frustration and/or friction within the ranks. The spillover from this may be some a few tasteless social media posts that went viral. Sometimes all it takes is a video showing employees goofing around. This video could be tied to your YouTube channel.

Having engaged employees who are passionate about what you sell is key in them going the extra mile, feel more than just a casual connection to the company and will use their skills as needed to propel the company forward.

Employees that aren't engaged aren't just unhappy at work, they work hard on diverting the attention of their managers to deal with issues they were responsible for. These employees are not so easy to spot. They start out by doing the bare minimum, never going the extra mile. When customers ask them for something, they don't take them and show them where it is, they point with no eye contact. Now, that I painted a picture of a disengaged employee, just think how much damage this individual may be able to cause on Social Media.

Take a look at the response below to a blog post by someone, a developer claiming to have cheated RyanAir's airline system so he could book a free flight:

“you’re an idiot and a liar!! fact is! you’ve opened one session then another and requested a page meant for a different session, you are so stupid you don't even know how you did it! you dont get a free flight, there is no dynamic data to render which is prob why you got 0.00. what self respecting developer uses a crappy CMS such as word press anyway AND puts they’re mobile ph number online, i suppose even a prank call is better than nothing on a lonely sat evening!!”

Obviously, this might be an extreme incident, but take heed. You need to conduct internal social media internal training, so that these things just don't happen. And yes. This is yet another way to protect your brand.