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EMPLOYEES ARE FANS TOO

20/03/2012


Although Ear to the Ground is traditionally known as an agency that connects brands with sport and music fans in a B2C environment we have also used our ability to create compelling content in the B2B space. Sport and music can be harnessed as powerful tools to drive internal engagement, sales focus and generally inject energy into an organisation’s culture. Our understanding of how fan bases can be created and sustained has allowed us to use our skill to turn passive workers into active fans leading to increased levels of attendance for internal communications events and driving engagement levels to achieve business objectives.  

The world has changed.  The way that leaders connect to the people that matter has never been so important.  Driving a dynamic business forward demands the desire to listen, be heard and to move the minds of the people at the heart of the business. Some organisations are realising they need fans; a base that will support them through thick and thin. They are realising that they need to tell more compelling stories to energise their workforces to get better results. Whether it’s traditionally dull annual conferences, away days or more intensive change management programmes, employees need to get excited and actively participate in the story of a business as individuals and as a group. By learning lessons from other fan groups there is an opportunity to create new customs, rituals and shared experiences that will drive loyalty and forge a shared mentality.       

We know that employees are fans too with 97% of workers claiming to be fans of music. The Olympics has proven that sport can transcend what happens on the playing field and move from a traditional male preserve to a more inclusive shared experience. As media continues to fragment, sport and music provide one of the few bonding experiences between employees other than their work. The workplace can be an incredible place to introduce the unifying power of sport and music as well as providing compelling content that can be amplified through an organisation from top to bottom. Forget traditional big event hospitality, sport and music can be used as content; shared experiences that will connect organisations with their most powerful asset. The challenge is to convert the energy and dynamism of sport and music into meaningful business results and use them to help turn employees into fans of their workplaces. 

If you want to affect change it’s important to understand the physical, emotional and cognitive connections that people have (or don't have) for the important things in their life. Our understanding of what makes fans has helped connect brands with employees; transforming several business communication programmes. Putting the live fan experience at the heart of the campaign is the same whether it's at a football match or a shareholder meeting. We have worked for clients including Bentley, Coca Cola and construction company Wates to put sport and music at the heart of their conversations with staff.  From hosting annual meetings at famous music venues through to using mountaineering as a metaphor for change, we have used Spotify playlists and set up night tournaments all to connect organisations with their number one asset.

The challenge is to create environments and truly memorable experiences to help communicate to staff. The key is to track success using engagement testing and make sure content is broadcast through the business to maximize return. The important thing to remember is that just like the rest of the population, organisations are filled with people who love sport and music too. If you can harness the power of these platforms to tell an organisation’s story, you can make it far more powerful.

Jobs are for spectators; dynamic businesses need fans to be at the heart of their future.