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Corporate Influencers – Brand Ambassadors of the Digital Age

While influencers have been a household name on social media platforms and beyond for years, corporate influencers are gradually becoming the focus of attention for CEOs, HR and marketing. Through expertise and credibility they offer a fresh and individual perspective on their own brand and company. In this article, we look at who corporate influencers are, why their role as brand ambassadors of the 21st century is so important for the (employer) brand, and whether every employee can be a corporate influencer.

Who are Corporate Influencers?

Corporate Influencers are employees who present their view of their company and their brand on their social media channels – through expertise in their own field or through insights into their daily work for the company. This opportunity to generate and publish company-related content themselves only came about in this form with the rise of social media platforms which opens up new opportunities for brands to be noticed both internally and externally. Among the most well-known of these are personalities such as Magdalena Rogl from Microsoft, Stefan Keuchel, who has worked for Tesla, Google and AOL, among others, or Sascha Pallenberg from Daimler. On their Twitter accounts with followers in the five-digit range, they present themselves as employees of their companies and ambassadors of their brand, but also as sports fans, festival visitors and parents of their children – thus giving their brand a human and authentic face.

While in recent years employees have often developed into corporate influencers by chance through their content, digital brand ambassadors are now increasingly being built up by companies in a targeted manner. Although they often have fewer followers than classic influencers on social media platforms, the work of several corporate influencers in sum can create considerable and lasting added value for your company.

Why are corporate influencers so important for companies?

The human face of the brand

Today, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to communicate their corporate content to their stakeholders. We are primarily interested in personal stories – so we often miss the human component in content posted on corporate channels. This gap is filled by corporate influencers – although their content is related to corporate topics, it is given a personal touch by the people who share it. In addition, they often enjoy a high degree of trust – by sharing high-quality content about their field of expertise over a longer period of time, they acquire a high degree of credibility with their followers. Users of social media react much more frequently to corporate messages if they are presented from the personal perspective of an influencer. In this way, corporate influencers open up new channels for their company to communicate their own values and brand to the outside world.

Authentic insights

Corporate influencers also strengthen the company’s employer brand when it comes to recruiting. New talents can gain a more credible impression of what it means to bring their skills to the company through personal insight into the coporate influencer’s work. They score points here with an authentic and human insight into their field of expertise compared to abstract job advertisements, idealized company channels and short job interviews.

Internal and external communication

Corporate influencers can also be an asset in terms of internal communication. Corporate and brand values should not only be communicated to the outside world – it is also crucial for employees themselves to internalize these values. Here, digital brand ambassadors can act as motivators and role models to convey values and strengthen the internal brand community. In addition, they often represent an important link between employees and management. With their reputation in their internal network, they can both promote active exchange within the workforce and pass on important impulses to management level.

Companies benefit the most from the development of corporate influencers when they are specifically trained in the use of digital media and have a clear idea of the brand positioning of their own company. Only employees who have internalized what their own brand stands for can effectively position themselves as corporate influencers and communicate and act in line with their own brand in the long term.

Corporate Micro-Influencers: Can anyone be a corporate influencer?

Companies benefit the most from the development of corporate influencers when they are specifically trained in the use of digital media and have a clear idea of the brand positioning of their own company. Only employees who have internalized what their own brand stands for can effectively position themselves as corporate influencers and communicate and act in line with their own brand in the long term. Furthermore, trust between the company and its employees plays a decisive role. Corporate influencers present the brand from their point of view – advertising messages or slogans are out of place here.

However, not everyone can or wants to establish and use social media channels with a high reach. This is where the micro-influencers come into play, who have long since found a firm place in social media advertising – as influencers for whom the focus is less on reach and more on credibility and whose opinion is often regarded as that of a good friend. In order to harness the potential of corporate micro-influencers as a company, channels with thousands of followers are not necessary – all employees who have internalized the brand values of their own company, live them in their everyday lives and carry them to the outside world can act as corporate micro-influencers. As brand ambassadors of the 21st century, they represent the positioning of their company online and offline, both internally and externally, from their personal, authentic point of view and thus contribute to the (employer) brand. 

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