Have you recently booked a holiday and first consulted TripAdvisor or read a restaurant review before deciding where to go for dinner? It’s no secret that we’re all heavily influenced by people like us – even those we’ve never met.
If you’d suggested 10 years ago that I would be taking notice of the opinion of someone I’d never met, before I spent money on a product or service, I would have laughed at you. But these days it’s the norm, and it’s backed up by research that shows “people like us” are highly influential when it comes to communicating about a company or organization - even more influential then the CEO or business leader.
And yet, many organizations aren’t harnessing this fact. They’re still communicating from the top down, leaving their senior people to be their public face. While that will carry some weight, your communication will be far more effective if your audience can directly relate to the person doing the talking or posting.
Research from Edelman also shows that subject matter experts are still highly influential as communicators, while “regular employees” continue to pack a strong punch when it comes to communicating with credibility.
So, consider all those factors in the context of your business or organization. To communicate with impact, rather than going the traditional way of having the CEO as your spokesperson, think about who in your team is a “regular employee”, while also being a subject matter expert, and very close in age and other demographics to the people you’re trying to reach.
If you can identify the right person or group of people who fit that triple bill, you’ll have yourself a very powerful reputation and credibility weapon to connect with potential customers and clients.
Be prepared to diversify your communication a little and you’ll reap rewards. Naturally, you’ll need to make sure your reputation ambassadors have the information and training to enable them to represent your business. They must comprehend the essence of your brand and what your organization stands for.
They’ll need well-honed communication skills to ensure your business stands out for the right reasons.
Look further than your top office to see who might be a budding ambassador in your ranks. It can be daunting to try something new, but members of your team hold the keys to your reputation kingdom.
The most unlikely contender could, in fact, be your most credible spokesperson - the one destined to really connect with those most important to your business.