10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors

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What is the X-factor for corporate reputation? Is it simply how a company’s brand is perceived by the public? Is it the company culture? What about charitable activities, community engagement, …

What is the X-factor for corporate reputation? Is it simply how a company’s brand is perceived by the public? Is it the company culture? What about charitable activities, community engagement, corporate leadership and work/life balance?

For us, the answer to all of these is yes. But we also believe corporate reputation starts closer to home, with employee brand ambassadors who best represent the company beyond the office—whether offline or on, and whether via social or traditional media.

You’ll find some unsung heroes—and one guaranteed surprise—in this refreshing collection of small and large companies who see brand ambassadorship the same way. They all recognize that reputation is more than how a company manages its image. It’s also about the principles and people behind corporate actions. We believe we found some stand up – and stand out – winners with stellar employee ambassadors. See what you think …

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  • 1. reputation starts here 10 Companies with StellarEmployee Brand Ambassadors
  • 2. Reputation Starts Here 10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand AmbassadorsWhat is the X-factor for corporate reputation? Is it simply how a company’s brand isperceived by the public? Is it the company culture? What about charitable activities,community engagement, corporate leadership and work/life balance?For us, the answer to all of these is yes. But we also believe corporate reputationstarts closer to home, with employee brand ambassadors who best represent thecompany beyond the office—whether offline or on, and whether via social ortraditional media.You’ll find some unsung heroes—and one guaranteed surprise—in this refreshingcollection of small and large companies who see brand ambassadorship the sameway. They all recognize that reputation is more than how a company manages itsimage. It’s also about the principles and people behind corporate actions. Webelieve we found some stand up – and stand out – winners with stellar employeeambassadors. See what you think …
  • 3. 1. Intel A Worldwide Winner Intel is a big reputation winner overall. It is #42 on the Reputation Institute’s Global Pulse Study. It is #32 on Fortune Magazine’s overall Top 50 World’s Most Admired Companies list (and #1 most admired in its industry). It is #3 on Forbes’ World’s Best for Leadership list, and is also on WorkingMother.com’s 2011 list of 100 Best Companies. The common denominators in all of these listings are innovation, leadership, and commitment to long-term investment. Brand ambassadors appreciate that, which is why the company has almost 4M likes on Facebook and over 32 separate Facebook pages, as well as 68K Twitter followers. Intel has a reputation for taking on the world with big ideas (its IdeaJam program is a great example). And it all starts with Intel’s employees. Bravo! Reputation Starts Here10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors
  • 4. 2. TOMS Shoes Shoes Equal Education TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, has made children around the world part of the fashion conversation. His “One for One” program is simple – buy a pair of TOMS shoes and the company gives a pair to a child in need. That is why it’s listed here as an unsung hero. Mycoskie frequently claims that shoes equal education. In Haiti, for instance, a child is not allowed to go to school unless the child has shoes (due in part to health concerns). Admittedly, we didn’t find TOMS on many “Top Business” lists, but those lists aren’t everything. TOMS leads with compassion and we admire that. Its employees do, too—which is why they comment and tell their personal stories regularly on its Facebook page (no wonder it enjoys nearly 1.2M likes)! Reputation Starts Here10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors
  • 5. 3. Publix Super Markets “Not Just a Supermarket” Publix is one of 13 lucky companies to have landed a spot on the CNN Money 100 Best Companies to Work For list every single year. The supermarket chain is the largest employee- owned company in the U.S. and the largest employer in Florida. Publix focuses its philanthropic efforts on youth, education (literacy, in particular), and the plight of the homeless and hungry. It finances projects through a charitable trust. In 2001, it created a “Get into a Green Routine” program for encouraging energy conservation. It also supports community initiatives such as the Special Olympics and the Children’s Miracle Network. Saying Publix is not just a supermarket is an understatement. Just visit the “I Heart Publix” Facebook page to see why! Reputation Starts Here10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors
  • 6. 4. Patagonia The Other 1% Group Patagonia was green before it was cool! It’s also the founder of the 1% For the Planet program and one of the unsung heroes of this list. The program, founded in 2002, has given over $100 million dollars away. It is a 45- nation strong co-op of businesses that give 1% of their gross revenues to improving the environment. Patagonia employees are rabid advocates who also walk the walk. Its outspoken employee ambassadors include official greeter Chipper Bro, who spreads the good word when answering the phone there, when surfing and when winning Frisbee freestyle world championships (he’s won 12). Visit Patagonia’s Facebook page for peek into the super-frequent, passionate conversation going on around this brand. Reputation Starts Here10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors
  • 7. 5. American Express Working-Mom Friendly American Express rates high overall (#49 on CNN Money’s 100 Best Companies to Work For), but is especially strong for working moms. A full 64% of its employee base is female. Over 30% of the top 500 company jobs are held by women, a high percentage for the financial industry. This secured Amex a spot on the WorkingMother.com Top 100 Companies list this year. Working moms returning from maternity leave are allowed to phase back in with reduced hours. The company offers back-up childcare services and support groups. And management describes employee wellness as a core business value. The same spirit is evident in its cause-driven “Member’s Project” on Facebook. Over 2.2M fans on the Amex Facebook page can’t be wrong. Reputation Starts Here10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors
  • 8. 6. Whole Foods Market Walking the Walk Whole Foods’ sweet spot is its commitment to health. That makes sense for an organic- focused food market, but its #24 position on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For seals the deal. Employees are given discounts to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The company website has a values page that lists all of its initiatives, including organic produce, health for kids, ethical seafood harvesting, and environmental protection. Whole Food’s motto—Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet—emphasizes that its vision reaches far beyond just being a food retailer. Combine this approach with the ideas presented in its Declaration of Interdependence and the comments on its Facebook page and you can see that Whole Foods’ reputation for caring is real. Reputation Starts Here10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors
  • 9. 7. SAS The Best Company to Work for (Again) SAS is #1 on the CNN Money 100 Best Companies to Work For list and has been for the last 14 years. Why? One reason is its attention to its employees’ needs. Says one manager: “People stay at SAS in large part because they are happy. But to dig a little deeper, I would argue that people don’t leave SAS because they feel regarded—seen, attended to and cared for.” SAS features on-site healthcare, affordable childcare, a kids’ summer camp, car cleaning, a beauty salon, and a state-of-the-art 66,000- square-foot gym. With that same attention paid to its customers on Twitter, it’s easy to see why the company enjoys such a great reputation among its employees. Reputation Starts Here10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors
  • 10. 8. Boston Consulting Group Well-Paying Corporate Philanthropist Boston Consulting Group comes in at #2 on the CNN Money 100 Best Companies to Work For list, sitting among the top dozen for six straight years. BCG has avoided layoffs, and has even added employees during 2010. Its Social Impact Practice Network (SIPN) offers a chance to work with the U.N. World Food Program and Save the Children. And its employees participated in an active, hands-on Haiti relief effort. BCG also has a reputation for paying well. Service and philanthropy certainly are very important, but having a reputation as a company that financially rewards its hardworking employees is bankable, too. BCG gets our seal of approval for keeping it real in the “why we do this work” category. With over 612 Facebook recommends, it looks like others feel the same way! Reputation Starts Here10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors
  • 11. 9. Virgin A Good Knight Sir Richard Branson understands reputation. Both he and his company have a strong style and verve. That, coupled with a four-star employee satisfaction rating on Glassdoor and billing as the most eco-friendly airline according to Smarter Travel Editor’s Choice, gives Virgin a reputation that extends well beyond flashy notoriety. Add Branson’s Virgin Unite Foundation into the mix for good measure and you also have a solid reputation for doing well by doing good. The company’s employees also keep up a running dialog on both Twitter and Facebook, with frequent daily deals, brainteasers and fun contests. The company may be a mega-empire, but it hasn’t forgotten that it takes more than one highly visible ambassador to spread the good word! Reputation Starts Here10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors
  • 12. 10. Goldman Sachs Surprise! Rehabbing a Reputation We know this one comes as a surprise. Though humbled, Goldman Sachs was among the first to seek to pay back federal assistance in 2009. Through it all, its employees have helped rehab its reputation: The company came in as a Working Mothers favorite, with a higher-than- average proportion of women in management. Employees give it a four-star Glassdoor rating. And it was named a 2011 Top 20 pick on Forbes’ Best Leadership Companies list. Companies on the list “give everyone at every level the chance to develop and practice leadership,” as opposed to 69.2% of other companies, and also “encourage local leaders to participate in HQ decisions, compared to 71.8% of peer firms.” Nurturing both women and leaders contributes to a good reputation and Goldman Sachs seems to be on the way to rebuilding its image the right way. Reputation Starts Here10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors
  • 13. Reputation Starts Here 10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand AmbassadorsReputation Is a Valuable Asset...Most in the C-suite agree that corporate reputation is important. They speakabout reputational ROI—and most have it pegged to metrics correlated againstsales and even stock valuation. At minimum, they track competitive mentions,share of discussion and even tone in traditional and social media to stay on topof it.But the best also invest in building reputational capital where it starts: withemployees, their greatest assets. These brand ambassadors—and thecommunities and customers they touch—are the ones driving the conversationand shaping your reputation these days, both online and off. Learn from thecorporate reputation winners listed here, and you’ll be well on your way tobuilding (or rebuilding) a stellar corporate reputation of your own—from the insideout!
  • 14. Reputation Starts Here 10 Companies with Stellar Employee Brand Ambassadors Next on “The Pulse”: "Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right” THE PULSE: Delivering shareable and shareworthy content with a twistso integrated marketing and communications professionals can work smarter, succeed and enjoy. BROUGHT TO YOU BY www.marketwire.com www.sysomos.com Follow us on Twitter: @Marketwire, @Sysomos www.commpro.biz Follow us on Twitter: @Commprobiz www.smartwomanguides.com Follow us on Twitter: @smartwoman