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Your employees are your best evangelists

When looking for a group of talkers to share your new stuff, don’t overlook the people already on your payroll.

I was at a client meeting in Dallas earlier this summer, hosted at a Starbucks (some of them have meeting spaces you can reserve), and we got to talking about VIA — Starbucks’ new instant coffee that they’re beginning to roll out across the country.

We decided to hold an impromptu taste test, and one friendly barista was brave enough to go on camera to try it (he had never tasted VIA before). After some careful examination, he was able to correctly identify the traditional Starbucks brew versus their instant coffee, but noted that he liked the new stuff.

The taste test got us talking about what an asset Starbucks employees could be in introducing VIA to new cities. For the price of one big TV commercial, Starbucks could give each employee a bag full of the stuff to share with friends, family, and regular customers.

The Lesson: When you’re rolling out a new product or introducing a new word of mouth topic, remember your employees — they’re the ones who have built the trust with your fans and loyal customers.

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  1. Andee Sellman, One Sherpa September 24, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    Great thoughts. The best employees not only are the best product evangelists but they provide the energy of a business

  2. Betsy Westhoff September 24, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    This is so true- and just to be on the safe side…don’t forget that the reverse is also true.
    When your employees are Moms things get really interesting as Moms are some of the most ardent brand evangelists out there and so when they are working for you don’t forget that they are talking to their networks about you.
    “Working moms far exceed other moms in their number of daily contacts — 155% more than stay-at-home moms & 70% more than part-time working moms.”

  3. Paulj September 25, 2009 at 5:22 pm #

    Management, please PLEASE consider the fact that the money you might “lose” on providing product at reduced cost or even (gasp!) free to employees is more than made up by the free advertising you’ll garner.
    I’m constantly amazed how “preserving margin” always creeps into conversations about helping employee evangelize our products…

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