As a developer, there is probably no better brand ambassador than you. Sounds a little daunting, right?
A 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer study reported that employees were trusted far more when it came to being a great brand ambassador--more so that company executives or CEOs. And that same trust factor carries over for freelancer developers. Chances are you've already been in an unfamiliar situation where you had to provide a quick, fluid explain to the question, "So what does your company do?"
If that's the case, how did it go?
We talked recently with Matt Given, CEO of Intelivideo, a Video On Demand platform, specializing in helping companies sell their videos online. Matt is a contributor to Inc.com and shared a story in the video below about a developer in his startup that "crushed it" when mingling with upper management at a business event.
You can read Matt's entire Inc.com article, here.
Since you never know when your time might come, here are a few things to keep in mind should the moment present itself for you, as a developer, to become a brand ambassador for the your company/client. Follow these steps an you'll be prepared to laud the benefits of your current employer.
- Practice a succinct "one-liner" explanation. It really does make for a perfect delivery. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. In a way, you're giving an "elevator-speech" for your company--after all at that moment you are your company's brand ambassador. And be prepared for a follow-up explanation to your short version.
- Explain your USP. What is your unique selling proposition?
- Engage your audience with a question at the end of your company pitch. This opens the door to learning more about your audience. Great communicators find that perfect balance of speaking AND listening.
- Have an established knowledge of the entire company. Read up on your company. Know the high-level details of your website and marketing. Understanding your corporate "voice" goes a long ways toward understanding how others actually view your business, industry--and you.
- Be open to gathering negative feedback. It's important to be ready for dissent, because this often provides important insight into how your company is viewed by the public. And if others see you are open to an alternate stance, you automatically give credibility to being a person (and company) that will listen to what others have to say, regardless of their point of view.
Jim Roddy - Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services advises company ambassadors to gauge early on in your pitch as to whether you are making a connection with your audience.
Be sure to speak for the audience – not for yourself – when providing an explanation about your company. Your description should be 100% clear to them and relatable to their situation. An audience with deep experience in your industry may understand your acronyms, but someone from a different vertical market will need more fundamental information. About 30 seconds into your explanation, I recommend asking a question like, “How does what we do fit into your world?” to gauge how well you’re connecting. “One-size-fits all” works for socks and hospital gowns, but not for your elevator pitch.
There's a message here for employers as well, when it comes to best practices companies can use to help train employees and contractors. There are plenty of detailed tactics out there (just Google it), but gauging the level of your corporate enlightenment boils down to two common questions.
- Are your employees engaged?
- Are you actively training them to be brand ambassadors?
If your company is lacking in the above list, here is a fun list of some unique employee engagement tactics. Let us know what you think.
- Have teams create their own set of values.
- Start a learning club.
- Ban emails for a day.
- Have open brainstorming sessions.
- Start a "distracted jar" filled with quirky things to Google when you need a mind-break.
We'd like to hear about your unique situation where you "crushed-it" in telling the story of your company. Leave a comment or some sage words of advice below.