Everyone who works for a company is an ambassador for that company. But whether they are a good or bad ambassador depends on them and how you treat them. Treatment of employees is a huge area that I am not going to cover (and, although I have strong views, there are many more qualified people if you are looking for sound advice).
But there is one thing you can do make yourself and others into better ambassadors, and that is to ensure that you have clear and consistent messages about what the company does. You may say “Well, that is obvious. Everyone knows we are estate agents … or website designers … or garden ornament producers”. But a simple label is just the starting point. What can you say that makes you stand out from the competition and be memorable?
You should be able to describe your company in two or three sentences in a way that is free of jargon (the person you are talking to may know nothing of your industry), clear and simple to remember and describes how you help your customers (“we have thirty years experience of specialising in … “, “we are the only local firm to offer worldwide distribution…”, “our products are so reliable they have lifetime guarantees…”). Find something that makes your firm stand out.
If the person or people you are talking to are interested in what you say, make sure you have a story or example to back it up. Stories are memorable.
Now are you confident that everyone who works in the company has this same message? Well, test it out by asking them. They do not need to use exactly the same words, but the key points must be the same.
Why is all this important? Because any planned or even chance meeting that you or any of your colleagues have, may turn out to be with someone who might be a customer, or a supplier or someone with the skills you need in your business – or just someone who may remember what you said and pass it on to someone else.
Making everyone into ambassadors is one of the cheapest forms of marketing. You may think it will reach too few people to be important, but think of all the interactions that you and others have each day. Think too of the customers, prospects, suppliers and others who talk to different people in your company and of ensuring that they get the right impression from everyone.
“Viral marketing” is a modern buzzphrase more associated with use of web marketing techniques. But consistent, enthusiastic mentions of your company by word of mouth can themselves be “viral”.