Employee advocacy has gotten a lot of buzz recently, but the truth is, its success for business strategies goes back — way back. For Reebok, articles praising the company for its innovation surrounding employee advocacy started cropping up as early as 2015. Fast forward to 2023, and they’re still reaping the benefits of establishing employee advocacy as a cornerstone of their employer branding and as a piece knitted into the fabric of their business as a whole.
What did Reebok know about employee advocacy that other businesses didn’t, and how did they do it? Find out below.
What Is Employee Advocacy?
In short, employee advocacy is a social media content marketing strategy that capitalizes on the enthusiasm and expansive networks of a business’s own employees. It helps ensure that branded messaging comes from a reliable source (your employees), reaches the correct audience, and resonates with that same audience. Given its past success, employee advocacy is projected to stay, leading companies to even more growth.
Why Reebok Is King
Back in 2015, Reebok made a decision to start targeting a new demographic. Rather than focusing solely on elite athletes, they wanted to embrace the fit lifestyles of your everyday sweaty enthusiast. As their efforts shifted, the team made an essential discovery that allowed them to step into the world of employee advocacy — their own employees were a near-perfect swathe of their new target demographic. Hypothetically, that meant their personal networks would allow the company to reach even more of that same target audience.
They recognized that the challenge with social media wasn’t just having people post fitness and athletics but connecting those core aspects of what Reebok does with the brand itself. For that, they needed employees to be enthusiastically on board with the brand and transparent about being involved with Reebok.
What Made Reebok’s Employee Advocacy Program Successful?
Reebok made a few crucial decisions early on when it came to employee advocacy.
1. They wanted their brand values to be part of the entire corporate culture.
That meant building a community of employees engaged with the brand and embracing their values. Adding employee advocacy into the heart of the company values and culture is a key indicator of the program's overall success.
2. They knew employees would be better received than CEOs for messaging.
Companies with employee advocacy programs see a more significant return in earnings throughout the year. Messaging comes across as more trustworthy, and when employees love where they work, the entire company receives brand lift and brand recognition in the eyes of its audience. Reebok encouraged its employees to post their every day sweaty activities while in Reebok gear, humanizing the brand.
3. They wanted to make it fun.
Reebok’s employee advocacy program was rooted in a somewhat saucy hashtag, #FitAssCompany. This let employees have fun with the program and encouraged them to express their love of fitness. It also allowed Reebok to track participation and the growth of the program. The hashtag also had the added benefit of helping brand awareness grow as it caught on.
4. They decided transparency was crucial.
When it came to their program, Reebok knew transparency would be essential for success. They didn’t want to hide that their employees were excited about the brand! This reflected better on the company and made its messaging more trustworthy and relatable, boosting customer engagement.
How Did Reebok Do It?
Besides the successful uptake of the #FitAssCompany hashtag, Reebok understood the value of a successful brand campaign for their employees — i.e., The employees could build their own mini-celebrity on social media if the company picked up their posts. They allowed for employee social media “takeovers” and incentivized them with the potential for being featured on the company page.
Lastly, Reebok strategically tied its employee participation with current campaigns. If it was trail running season, they heavily encouraged and featured employees who posted content about running in their Reebok gear. This gave them a plethora of user-generated content to add to the pool and draw from for their accounts.
What You Can Learn From Reebok’s Employee Advocacy Program
In short, there were a few key takeaways from the success of Reebok’s employee advocacy program.
- Be transparent
- Make it fun and valuable for your employees
- Incorporate it into your corporate values and brand
- Encourage authenticity
For how to build and scale an employee advocacy program for your business, check out our other blog posts. They have plenty of valuable information to start you off on the right foot!
If you have started building an employee advocacy program of your own and reaping the benefits, you’ll need content for your team to use! That’s where the professionals like us here at Ghostit come in. Want to discuss how we can help? Reach out today!