As I travelled on the London Underground recently, I noticed a huge advertising campaign by Apple. They’ve covered some of the tube stations with user generated content (customer experience at its best). Amazing images that customers of their product have created using their product. What’s more, Apple credit the customer on the advert.

Is it time to brand flip?

brand flip customer engagement

This morning I dropped by Tesco, a global UK retail chain, to pick up my shopping and I noticed the have done something similar. They’re showcasing customer recipes all over the store via their Love Food Stories campaign. Real people sharing their creations using their language.

brand flip customer engagement 2

Something fascinating is happening here. Leading brands are playing down their own crafted message and amplifying their community message.

From “Me Me Me” to “We We We”

I’ve noticed that some brands are consciously moving away from talking about themselves towards talking about their community. They are using their ‘amplification power’ to showcase the creativity of their customers using user generated content.

Not only that, brands are creating a community of loyal ambassadors at the same time. Those that are selected to be featured are also strengthening their emotive ties to the brand. They feel invested in, recognised and rewarded by their efforts.

Logos can’t tell stories. People can.

Sharing authentic stories from real people resonates with us more because it appeals to our “that could be me” emotion. The emotion that we relate to and can easily connect with. Brands evoke emotion but nothing evokes emotion more than a good story.

Creating an emotive customer experience can improve long term loyalty. Whilst it’s important to measure quantitative metrics of customer satisfaction and digital journeys, we must never forget to factor in the emotional connection our customers have with our brands. In fact, some argue that the emotional connection matters more than satisfaction.

Customer Experience. The Brand Flipping Opportunity In B2B

I feel that many B2B organisations are missing a huge opportunity here.  By putting employees in front of the logo, B2B brands don’t just talk about what they can do for the customer, they demonstrate it through the voice of their employees – their experts.

This is not an easy transition to make but it can have a dramatic impact on the organisation.

Just imagine the marketing function within your company found a piece of content you created. They love it. They love it so much they shared it via the brand social networks, they feature it at their next event and may even integrate into their next advertising campaign. How would that make you feel? How would it make your colleagues feel?

Strengthening The Employee Connection With the Brand

The strategy of brand flipping builds employee engagement because the brand is effectively saying “we have great people working for us – look right here!”

Your colleagues are going to be encouraged by this, perhaps motivated to be the next featured employee. They’re also going to feel more compelled to share your content with their social network than some finely polished piece from the marketing department.

Attracting Talent Through Brand Advocates

Brand flipping can also massively impact your employer brand. Think about it, who wouldn’t want to work for a company that encourages, endorses and empowers their employees to build their professional impact?

Attracting best-fit talent to your organisation takes more than an aptitude test and interview process.

Winning the hearts and minds of your employees before they even join your company is not going to be anything but incredible for productivity and culture.

Why Stop There?  Brand Flip The Entire Eco-System

Referring to the example from Tesco, there’s no reason why you couldn’t brand flip your entire business eco-system.

Tesco invited their suppliers into the Love Food Stories campaign asking them to share their stories. It brings depth and provenance to the brand story, strengthens the loyalty across the entire eco-system and connects customer experience that would have otherwise been disconnected.

What we’re doing here is bringing stories to life. We’re bringing brands to life, we’re creating authentic content that’s raw and believable, we’re trusting people to tell the brand story.

Help Your Employees Discover Their Voice

Investing in employee brands will pay dividends in the long term. Empower employees to make mistakes and learn from them, invest in their expertise, showcase their talent and help them impact the customer experience.

It’s time to put employees in front of the logo. It’s time to recognise that first and foremost, employees are the brand. Partners and suppliers are an extension of the brand. Customers are experiencing the brand promise.

The Future Of Brand Flipping

As a brand advocate enthusiast, I am starting to get a little obsessed with brand flipping. Everywhere I look I can see brand flipping opportunity.

Starbucks is great at sharing their employee voice on social media but why not share customer experiences? I’m always stood behind someone in the coffee queue that asks for a “mocha choca single shot soya caramel latte” (or something similar) and I’m always curious how they came up with the combination in the first place. Tell me. It might inspire me to give it a try and upsell my next coffee.

Why is NEXT not encouraging user generated content using their latest fashion stock showing how their customers are pulling items together to create a look on Instagram?

Try it for yourself. Next time you’re in a retail outlet, at an event or talking with a supplier, think about how brand flipping could create a more authentic customer engagement and customer experience. It’s quite fun once you get going.

I believe in #BrandFlipping.  Do you?

Let me know – comment below!

Related Post: HR & Marketing: Best Friends for Brand Advocacy & Customer Experience