We're Raising Superheroes, So Can You

What Are You Doing to Train Your Staff to Become Super Brand Advocates?

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Dana Severson
Dana Severson
As my small agency continues to win new accounts and bring on more staff, I can't help but grow increasingly excited about the idea of implementing management policies, employee handbooks, 401k plans and so on and so forth. Yawn. Ok ... not really. But, I am starting to think more seriously about how I can engage my growing staff to live the brand of the organization. And, that really is getting me excited.

Why? Because, we have a fun brand. We're "Idea Heroes." We come up with big, fun, grandiose marketing/advertising ideas that save businesses, careers and/or clients. What's not fun about that? Much like a superhero, our human identities are usually under wraps. Which means, many times we are behind the scenes, creating ideas for other agencies or internal marketing departments. In other words, we're kind of like the Intel Chip of the advertising world. At least that's how we see it.

So in all of my excitement, I've developed two programs that were designed to allow my current and future staff to not only engage in what we are all about, but more importantly, integrate our brand message into their daily lives.

Operation Alter Ego. Everyone has something that he's really good at. It could be anything from crunching numbers to crunching beer cans. Therefore, everyone that comes onboard at Idea Heroes, is required to develop his or her very own superhero alter ego, regardless of that special talent. At this point, we're very small and all we have is idea generators, so this has been quite simple so far. Our illustrator designs their character, and then the staff member is provided with his very own set of superhero trading cards. The cards are complete with bio, stats and heroic abilities. And, the cards are all specifically numbered, so no one will ever be forgotten.

The Annual Hero Fund I run on the belief that if people had extra money (as in more than they need for living life), they would use it for good things. So, we've created a fund (of extra money) that is allocated to each staff member for which than can use do heroic things in the community. This may include buying lunch for a Marine or picking up a grocery tab for a parent who seems to be having one of those days (those with kids can relate). Ultimately however, the decision is left to the staff. After completing a heroic mission, it's required that the story is shared with the rest of the staff.

Bottom line: these programs are not designed to drive new business. They're designed to empower and engage the staff in the core mission and brand of our organization. In turn, we'll end up with a company full of brand advocates, which can only lead to good things (like new business). Oh yeah, and secretly I have this dream of getting on one of those "best places to work" lists.

So, my question to you is: What are you doing to engage your staff in your brand? Or, maybe you've taken a different approach and engaged your staff in your clients brands? Either way, I'm hoping to hear your ideas.

Born with a large forehead and natural ability to develop outrageously absurd ideas, Dana Severson was immediately drawn to the advertising industry at a very early age. Growing up, he'd often get caught sipping a three-finger apple juice (disguised as cognac), smoking candy cigarettes, dressed like his favorite superhero, David Ogilvy. Fast forward a few decades, and we find Dana getting paid to develop outrageously absurd ideas at his advertising firm, Idea Heroes and downing three-shot espressos. Dana is an active blogger and is known to post random advertising concepts on Twitter. He is available for sideshow demonstrations and Bill Bernbach impersonations.
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