Corporate Alumni Programs Support Brand Recognition
Corporate Alumni Programs can have a measurably impact on a company’s brand recognition over time when the members feel engaged, appreciated, and have a sense of belonging and there’s a thoughtful content strategy in place.
Brand recognition establishes trust and credibility with consumers over time and is built through a variety of methods internally with employees and externally with customers. One way that companies can enhance their brand recognition is by implementing a formal corporate alumni network. While an alumni network supports multiple business objectives, we will focus on the connection to brand recognition and why having a corporate alumni program is an important piece of an overall marketing strategy.
Departing Employees Are Brand Advocates or Brand Detractors
When employees leave a company they take with them valuable knowledge, skills, and connections. They also take with them an opinion about the company that they will continue to share for the rest of their career. When former employees feel that they were valued, appreciated and have a sense of belonging, they are more likely to remain engaged with the company and speak positively about their experience.
Alumni are ideal brand ambassadors because they can communicate the mission and vision of a company based on their personal connection. They bring a level of credibility that makes word-of-mouth marketing so powerful. People have the highest trust in a brand when the recommendation source comes directly from friends or family.
Corporate alumni programs provide a channel to share company news including new products and services and exciting milestones. Alumni may engage with that content and potentially share it with their network or want to offer their expertise. The company benefits from increased network effect which may lead to higher reach online and potential business development opportunities.
Measuring Brand Advocacy in a Corporate Alumni Program
One of the biggest methods of connecting brand recognition and a corporate alumni program is by conducting routine Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys. They can be done in your annual when you ask the same questions year over year such as:
- Would you recommend COMPANY as a place to work?
- Have you recommended COMPANY as a place to work?
- Would you recommend COMPANY’s services to others?
- Have you recommended COMPANY’s services to others?
Or they can be done periodically through the year in short pulse questions. Over time, if the day-to-day community health is active, typically we see NPS scores continuously improve. Surveying your community also identifies areas for improvement in alumni experience and engagement and tracking the overall sentiment over time.
Utilize the Brand’s Social Media Presence for Alumni Stories
Social media and external content planning supports brand recognition by feeding the community a steady stream of inspiring and share-worthy content. The goal is to create a buzz that encourages alumni to promote the mission and values of a brand.
A brand’s social media accounts will benefit from having human interest stories included in the overall content plan. It’s a short departure from the main type of content, but it humanizes the brand while also connecting with alumni who may not yet be included in the alumni program. Consider these two types of content outside of the network:
- Regularly featuring alumni spotlights highlighting the role the organization played in their journey
- Articles and photos of the latest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and events that alumni participated in
The Starbucks Alumni Community with its tagline “Once a Partner, Always a Partner,” is a great example how a brand can effectively convey its values through its alumni. In Starbucks’ case, the values of community and connection are strongly reflected in posts shared in their LinkedIn alumni group as well as their dedicated platform. Alumni often refer to their time at Starbucks as “foundational” in the regularly featured alumni spotlights and describe all the invaluable connections made during their employment. This is a great example of when a LinkedIn group supports the overall plan.
The Impact on the Bottom Line
While it is difficult to directly connect brand recognition to a company’s bottom line, consistently measuring the same metrics year over year about a member’s likelihood to promote or detract does typically support the success of a program and increased ROI in other business drivers such as rehiring and business development. There’s also a strong link between customers supporting organizations with a positive employer reputation.
Corporate alumni programs are highly effective in supporting brand recognition and awareness. By fostering positive relationships with current and former employees, companies can enhance their brand image, drive word-of-mouth marketing, and improve customer engagement. By investing in alumni engagement and creating meaningful experiences for former employees, companies can strengthen their brand and drive long-term business success.