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Six ways you can make the most of Ogilvy's top influencer trend of 2024

4 mins  |  23.04.2024

So you’ve decided you want to run an employee advocacy programme - excellent choice. 

And guess what? Now is the perfect time to do it. 

Ogilvy named employee advocacy as the number one influencer trend of 2024, so it’s only a matter of time before we see brands jumping on the advocacy bandwagon as they realise its true potential and impact. 

But you’re here now, which probably means you’ve already started considering a programme. 

Which also means you’ve likely realised there’s a lot to think about, especially when it comes to the launch. How you kick-off will set the tone, expectations, and build momentum for the remainder of the programme, so you definitely want to get this right. 

It’s also your first touchpoint with your advocates, and they’ll be looking to you and the session to inform how they engage moving forward. 

So from someone who’s run employee advocacy launches for some of the largest global brands, here’s the six key things you need to nail your kick-off. 

A company vision they can see and share

Before you send your employees off into the social media landscape to start sharing their experiences and championing your vision, you need to make sure everyone understands exactly what that is. 

Do this by setting a North Star Aim for the cohort. This is your mission statement, and knowing what you want to achieve by the end of the programme will help you stay on track to get there. 

Share this with your advocates right from the start and communicate how and why you came to your decision so they can understand your reasoning. Having them clued up on this right from the get go will not only help keep their content targeted to your goals, but it also ensures they understand how they are contributing to the programme’s overall aims. 

Want to take it a step further? Involve your people in crafting your North Star Aim as part of the kick-off through a brainstorm and workshopping session. Nothing gets people invested faster than feeling like they’ve had a hand in the development of the project. 

(If you like the sound of this but you have a goal in mind you need to meet, drop us a DM, we’ve got a tactic for that). 

Incentives they actually want

Now if this was my kick-off, I’d be reading incentives as sweet treats and coffee, purely because I know that would get me to a meeting. But let’s talk about them in a wider sense. 

When you’re considering rewards, this could be anything from a breakfast/lunch spread for showing up to the kick-off itself to winning titles like ‘King/Queen of Consistency’ throughout the programme. These little pick-me-ups can go a long way for engagement, particularly if you’re looking to foster a bit of friendly competition amongst the cohort (and we recommend you do). 

Don’t have any budget leftover for swanky prizes? Don’t worry, some of your best prizes don’t cost a thing. Lean into your company values, culture, and what your cohort would truly benefit from: an additional personal development day? Public recognition from senior leadership? A personalised piece of company stash? 

And if you want to make sure you’re really nailing it? Ask your advocates (do you get where we’re going with this?). Remember, those on your employee advocacy programme normally aren’t being paid to partake, so they need a reason to engage and commit. Ensuring they feel recognised, however you decide to incentivise this, is crucial. 

So whether you’re offering a highlight in the company newsletter or a giftcard to the office’s local café, ensure that incentives (and how to win them!) are clearly communicated at the very start. 

Pre-launch buzz

As we’ve already mentioned, this is your flagship gathering and your chance to set the tone for things to come, so why not spice it up with a little hype? 

The key here is planning. Get ahead of the kick-off and drum up excitement by working with your internal communications team to announce the advocates in an all-staff meeting or newsletter. This is a great way to ensure the rest of the company feels involved as well as they now know whose content to look out for (and support!). 

Another great way to get people raring to go (which doubles as a strategic info dump) is by pulling together an ‘explainer deck’ of sorts. This should hold everything your cohort needs to know ahead of the programme kicking off, from key dates to workshop topics to who they should be turning to for help. Add in some sneak peeks of what’s to come that are exclusively available in this deck to carry on that sense of ‘being in on it’. 

Want to level it up? Get someone from your team to record themselves talking through the deck using Loom and create infectious excitement. 

A company content calendar

If you’re looking to use your employee advocacy programme to highlight certain company initiatives or milestones, giving the cohort as much notice as possible is how you ensure maximum impact. 

What better way to do that by mapping out all the big events, updates, and celebrations you want to spotlight over the duration of the programme? Better yet, once you’ve announced this to all your employee advocates, pop it in their calendars so there’s no way they can forget. 

Once again, in order to do this well, you need to be ahead of the game and ensure you’ve spoken to the powers that be (read: internal communications/those in charge of these cultural days) to nail down dates and ensure you’re covering all bases. 

And guess what? This company calendar is also a mega strategic move - you’re basically planning out content for them. Content they don’t need inspiration for. Content which is going to help you achieve your North Star Aim. Content which is going to help you look good. 

It’s a win-win-win. 

Josh and Seb

A ‘first step’ activity

As amazing a presenter you are (we’re sure of it), working in some interactivity is going to help keep your cohort engaged and give you a well-deserved speaking break. 

It’s also (you guessed it) a tactical decision - helping your employee advocates write their first post, set their own targets for the programme, or update their LinkedIn profiles are exactly what you need to get the ball rolling on their advocacy journeys and give them a helping hand whilst they do. 

Set 10-15 minutes of time aside either at the end or mid kick-off to target one of these (or something else, but not more than one activity) and help them work through it. Encourage discussion between the cohort to start fostering that sense of community, but ensure you’re there to provide the correct advice and guidance where needed. 

Whatever you decide, an activity also means the cohort can leave the kick-off feeling a small sense of accomplishment, like they’ve taken their first step in their employee advocacy journey. Set this standard from the beginning and it’ll be a lot easier driving their engagement for activities in the future. 

Crystal clear expectations

And last, but by no means least (quite the opposite, in fact), is expectations. 

An employee advocacy programme only succeeds if there’s engagement from your people, and that takes a certain level of buy-in, commitment, and good old-fashioned hard work.

Help them reach this level of dedication by setting clear expectations around what they need to invest in the programme to help you reach that North Star aim. 

Do this by defining specific objectives they need to achieve each month, as this will give them actionable steps they can take to drive their engagement. A ‘Dos and Don’ts’ document is a great place to start; clear guardrails will help your people feel more confident in what they’re posting and also give them something to refer back to as the programme progresses. 

In our experience, these guidelines work a treat. When you take the time to help your people feel supported and equipped on their advocacy journey, they’re more likely to respond positively and continue engaging.

Invest in your people and they’ll invest in you. 

And off you go!

Now you have everything you need, dear reader, so it’s time to start planning that kick-off you may or may not have been putting off (don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone). 

Remember, an advocacy programme is a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t blow all your good ideas on the first session. We’ve established the kick-off is important for setting the standard for things to come, but you want to build more and more engagement as you go, not start well and run out of steam. 

So whatever a ‘strong but sustainable’ approach looks like for you, stick to it. 

Kick-offs can be a daunting task, but hopefully these six must-haves have left you feeling ready to dive in. 

And if not, you know where we are (and we’ll get someone to help you, promise!).

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