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Brand Ambassadors

Employees are vital in establishing your brand

Brand Ambassadors

Differentiating your brand in any industry is good, but in the casino industry, where so many options may appear the same, it can make a world of difference. While most may immediately think of logos, ads and jingles, the vital key in differentiation may be right under our noses: employees. They are the direct influencers of your brand’s image.

Your advertising, reinvestment, and celebrity chefs are important, but the real impact comes from the genuine stories your employees share. They bring authenticity and trust that can’t be replicated by marketing alone. As they speak about their experiences, their voices reach wide audiences, shaping public perception of your brand.

You might think of it like a word-of-mouth campaign turbo-charged by the amplifying power of social media. This kind of advocacy is not just a clever marketing tactic; it’s an organic and compelling endorsement that customers notice and trust.

Trust—the modern relationship between businesses and customers—is fostered through authenticity. Employee brand ambassadors, by sharing their genuine experiences and beliefs about the brand, fulfill growing expectations for real connections. By bringing their unique perspectives to the forefront, they weave a narrative that resonates with customers, laying a strong foundation of trust.

Employee-driven brand promotion works harmoniously with traditional marketing efforts to create a comprehensive narrative. Every testimonial, story, or social post from a dealer or even a back-office staff member contributes to the ongoing story of your brand. When employees champion the brand organically, your casino gains an upper hand against competitors relying solely on traditional marketing tactics. Your brand’s story doesn’t just unfold; it evolves.

This approach not only humanizes your brand but also provides a transparent view into the company’s culture and values, which resonates more effectively with potential customers than traditional advertisements. This level of honesty and personal engagement creates a sense of belonging that encourages customers to become loyal supporters, giving you an uncopyable edge.

The internal advantage of cultivating employee brand ambassadors goes beyond outward marketing. It fosters a sense of pride and ownership among your staff. Employees who are engaged and empowered to represent the brand are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and committed to the casino’s success. This internal satisfaction is contagious, spilling over into customer interactions and creating a welcoming, vibrant atmosphere throughout the operation.

Furthermore, when employees are motivated to act as brand ambassadors, there’s a natural uptick in morale and teamwork. They become stakeholders in the brand, which can lead to improved performance and innovation. These internal benefits reinforce the brand’s image.

But how do you turn your crew from passive employees into passionate promoters? The trick lies in creating the right environment.

A clear vision. Your team must understand the brand they are meant to embody. Encourage personal ownership within the context of their roles. Offer ongoing education and training so employees understand the casino’s mission, vision and values. Recognize and celebrate employee advocacy, including spotlighting employees’ stories through your internal and external communication channels.

Clear guidelines. What’s appropriate to share? What should be kept in the house? These parameters must be clear, as the last thing you want is a muddied message.

Amplify employee voices. Social media is a powerful tool when used strategically. Inspirational stories of employees living the brand can have a domino effect and reach an audience beyond your casino walls.

Building an army of brand ambassadors isn’t without its obstacles. Resistance, authenticity and legal considerations can be thorny issues, but they’re far from unbeatable.

Skepticism and apathy among employees can be deal-breakers, but they are challenges that can be met with transparency and education. Let employees know how their involvement can positively affect the customer experience and how this can affect them.

Overly contrived or scripted messages will likely be met with apathy. Ensure the ideas you provide will allow them to create stories that are genuine and unforced. Empower your employees to share their truth in their own unique way.

As team members change, needs and interests will as well. So, it is critical to hold regular feedback sessions to address their concerns and adapt the program to fit their needs and interests.

Navigating the legalities of employee advocacy without infringing on rights or misrepresenting the brand is a delicate dance. Craft policies and guidelines in line with local laws and labor regulations. Regularly review the content employees share to ensure that it aligns with brand standards, protects the casino’s reputation, and complies with all regulations.

Your employee brand ambassadors don’t just echo your casino’s consumer-facing brand; they also sculpt your employer brand, a vital part of recruitment. A strong employer brand attracts top talent like a magnet, and as casinos continue to struggle to fill positions, we could use all the attraction we can get.

In an industry built on the excitement of unexpected turns, the one thing you can bet on with certainty is your employees. As your most powerful brand ambassadors, they have the potential to elevate your casino to the vaunted status of an industry trailblazer.

Do you dare to double down on your employees and transform them into advocates? The casino industry, after all, was built on audacious choices. As the cards fall into place and the wheels spin, remember: your success is in your hands and, ultimately, in the hands of the very employees who make your casino more than just a place to play.

Julia Carcamo has held property and corporate leadership positions at medium to large casino companies. She is the president of J Carcamo & Associates marketing consultancy and founder of Casino Marketing Boot Camp. Contact: julia@jcarcamoassociates.com.

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