By Annelies Heuvelmans
Annelies is a young professional with a broad interest in public relations, branding, marketing, communication research, and corporate communications. By having both scientific and practical know-how, she applies psychological theories and research to real-life business cases. She develops communication strategies and enables behavioral change by means of consumer research.
Anyone who wants to implement a PR campaign internationally is faced with various challenges. The language and culture barriers do not simplify things, and cultures have different working methods. Yet, as a company, you want to achieve the best results in every country using a universal strategy.
The PR World Alliance (PRWA) recently visited the Netherlands with this complex topic in mind.
What do our eastern neighbours say about the use of social media among employees?
How do French organizations successfully attract candidate?
What core values are relevant in American labor market communication?
In la première partie of this international series, top PR minds from across our international organization offer our insights:
A stage for your own employees
The Netherlands is dealing with an employee shortage, meaning that employee advocacy is in vogue. Think about politie vlogger Jan-Willem and the Dutch online police series RobuustBlauw. Both vlogs attract many youngsters (and therefore potential employees) and give them a glimpse behind the scenes of the Dutch police world. It is not surprising that more and more companies are committed to the ambassadorship of their employees. In fact, research from LinkedIn shows that companies with engaged employees have 58 percent more chance to attract top talent.
“By motivating employees to share relevant content in which the organizational culture emerges, an effective form of word-of-mouth advertising is deployed. This makes employee advocacy a truly strategic marketing tool: it can achieve a high organic reach and appeal to a wider audience,” said Eline Visser, Marcommit Managing Director. “However, it is important that you start from the right objective and adjust your approach accordingly.”
Define the DNA of your organization
Companies that want to do labor market communication in the United States need to emphasize their core values. Peter Stanton, of Stanton Communications, recognizes four core values that are frequently present at the moment: respect, freedom, opportunities, and transparency.
Stanton explains: “Especially in the context of #metoo, respect is a very important core value. All employees must be treated equally. In this sense, the core value of freedom is the opportunity to give your opinion as an employee and to be able to express yourself without any negative consequences. By contributing these four core values internally and externally, employees can transfer a good image of the organization to their own network. It is their challenge to give it their own twist!”
Authenticity as a guideline
Individuality is vitally important for the success of employee advocacy.
“In Germany, it is noticeable that employees are eager to work on their thought leadership position. When they do not have a clear idea of content that is worth sharing, you can help employees by providing them with authentic content. There is already a lot of handy technology for this, such as LinkedIn Elevate, Bambu or DrumUp. Make sure that it is not pre-fabricated news,” said Meike Grisson of Panama PR.
Grisson also explains that in Germany they pay attention to best practices, such as the story of an enthusiastic new employee who takes advantage of new training opportunities and applying those to his daily work.
Show your workplace
In addition to the company’s own channels and employees, external channels can maximize results.
In France, external online platforms are often used, says Catherine Kablé of Kablé Communication: “A lot of use is made of the job board, Welcome to the Jungle. Here employers can be put in the spotlight through attractive content. Photos of the office, videos with daily activities, what the male-female ratio is … This content brings the organizational culture to life, shows the core values and is therefore very effective for attracting new talent. Employees can also add content to the company profile themselves or place links in the social channels of the organization. ”
Eline Visser has another tip: “To motivate your employees, it is effective to show their contribution. How much coverage did his or her blog, vlog or article get, and how much engagement has been achieved? If you really want to bring it, you can set up an internal competition across the entire width of the organization … Your ambassador’s program will spread quickly!”
Real and sincere
Whether you want to deploy employee advocacy in Europe or in the United States, one thing is obvious: For a strong international advocacy strategy, organizations need to show their personality more than ever through their employees.
Content distributed by employees on social channels has 561 percent more reach than messages distributed through company channels alone. By drawing up core values and communicating them clearly to your employees, they can identify themselves better with the organization and communicate these values externally. By offering authentic content and giving employees insight into the results they achieve, they remain motivated to share their expertise with their network.
In part two of this series, we will discuss how international PR can address the issue of fake news.