Alumni as Brand AmbassadorsDecember 21, 2016
Corporations are the new alma maters: companies are retaining and managing their connections with ex-employees (corporate alumni) in a trend dubbed “corporate social networking” (CSN). Corporate branding has become more indicative of competitive market advantage than product branding.
Alumni admiration and identification with brand values create unconscious brand support. They “live the brand,” which means their behavior aligns with company values and culture. Alumni can provide free advertising and services, which oftentimes lead to increased profits and productivity. [Click to Tweet]
Creating Alumni Brand AmbassadorsAn organization should begin engaging employees as brand ambassadors their very first day of employment. This makes it natural to engage them down the line as alumni brand ambassadors. Companies should strive to support positive social culture within their organization, which creates employee satisfaction. When an employee perceives their job positively, their organizational commitment increases. Committed workers tend to identify with the brand’s value, thus fostering brand loyalty within an employee. After an employee exits an organization, they retain those positive feelings for their former employer, thus becoming alumni brand ambassadors.
Companies can manage their alumni relations by hosting networking events, or creating online CSNs through alumni software . Online CSNs provide a place for alumni and employees to interact.
Leveraging Alumni Brand AmbassadorsIn bad economies, companies can use their CSN to re-hire ex-employees (boomerang hiring). Alumni brand ambassadors unintentionally aid their former employer’s selection process, because they naturally embody information about the corporate brand, which applicants can use to gauge their organizational fit.
The strength of the alumni demographic in a CSN also serves to develop a company’s reputational capital, which can (a) shield a company from rivals, (b) elevate the company’s status, and (c) build partnerships among companies.
This post is one of four contributed by Masters students from the I/O Psychology program at the University of Texas at Arlington. To learn about the partnership between Insala and UTA, please watch this video.