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How do you promote your brand and share your company message? Most of the time, we rely on the expected channels of Twitter or the tedious effort of engaging with those top influential people in the industry, hoping that one day they’ll share your latest blog post. What many companies overlook is their most powerful marketing asset, the employees, who are right within arm’s reach. But with everyone’s busy lives, impossible schedules and over-flowing inboxes, how can you expect your employees to take the time to share your company message and become your next “brand ambassador?”

We found one company with an amazing success story behind their recently launched employee advocacy program. Here, we interview Liz Pedro who initiated Mitel’s advocacy program and saw stellar results beginning on day one.

Tell us a little about yourself, the work you do at Mitel, and a little about what you did prior to working with Mitel?

My name is Liz Pedro and I am the director of Customer Success at Mitel. At Mitel I manage customer success marketing programs including our customer reference program, advocacy program, social selling and customer awards. Prior to working at Mitel I working in various marketing and sales roles, with the last eight years building customer reference programs.


What were the reasons that Mitel decided to invest in engaging employees in its social media efforts? Was there a specific problem you were trying to solve? 

Every marketing organization has challenges but most of them are similar, including getting more qualified leads, increasing company brand awareness, growing social presence and so forth. When I joined Mitel in November of 2013, I identified three areas I would focus on. This included growing company perception, increasing sales revenue and engaging employees to share customer success.

I started by sending Friday emails to all employees, where I shared a new customer success story and gave tweets for them to share on social media. I was able to engage more employees this way but it wasn’t yet what I had in mind.

The vision is to mobilize our customer, employee and partner advocates sharing the Mitel message and growing revenue. The objectives include:

  1. Leverage advocates to share content
  2. Increase social buzz and sharing
  3. Generate 50+ customer referrals per month
  4. Motivate customers to post reviews

What criteria did you use when choosing the best employee engagement platform for Mitel?

  • Global solution
  • Global rewards
  • Scalable
  • Robust (not just social selling or engagement)
  • Ability to leverage all advocate types (Employee, partner and customer)
  • Easy to implement and manage

The solution was finding something that enabled me to leverage our advocates to help with all my initiatives! I researched products and found Influitive, advocate marketing software that would help me with all my initiatives! Now we leverage the power of gamification software to engage with our customers, employees and partners. We invite our customer advocates to join the Hub where we engage with them to share our marketing messages on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. We also leverage them for online reviews, reference requests, referrals, and so much more.

Advocates can earn points for completing challenges, earn badges, move up levels, and redeem their points for rewards like gift cards. We even throw in fun challenges to make sure it’s not all work and no play. One of the favorites is the community where they can interact with each other. We can also engage with them to get their feedback on ideas or enhancement requests. This has been a huge hit at Mitel for our all our advocate types – customers, partner and employees.

Could you tell us a bit more about the program? What are the employees required to do and how did you get them to be so engaged?

Mitel Champions is an online advocacy hub. Employees log in to see new challenges and as they complete them they receive points and earn rewards. Employees aren’t required to do anything but encouraged to participate. We have more than 1/3 of our employees participating, almost 1300. They like how easy it is to share pre-written social messages, they like staying connected with key news and strategic projects, they like earning points and of course getting rewards.

I think a big part of the Mitel Champions success is due to our CMO, who was very passionate about social selling. Martyn Etherington had an initiative going on about social selling and the Mitel Champions Hub fit right into this. We also had a great team that piloted the program. In addition to executive support, we communicated via email and also had secret missions where you could get coworkers to sign up.

What were the challenges in launching and managing this program?

One of the only challenges I’ve had is managing the sheer volume of the advocacy hub. I never expected more than a few hundred to sign up and now we are almost 1800 advocates. The tool from Influitive, which runs Mitel Champions works flawlessly. We have Influitive integrated with Tango Card so that gift cards are automatically fulfilled, which works really well too. Honestly the only challenge was managing so many advocates. Our passionate employees are one of Mitel’s biggest assets!

Another minor challenge is that the Hub is only available in English right now. We have European partners and customers we want to roll it out to but have to wait until there’s support for other languages.

What are the most significant benefits of the program you’ve seen so far? 

The Mitel Champions Hub has transformed Mitel. First, we are engaging with our employees, customers and partners like never before. We provide a fun way to motivate them to help with various projects and interact with them daily. Second, we have expanded our marketing team by including all employees, partners and customers in our marketing initiatives! We now have an army of advocates to help us with our efforts and it’s fun to see how creative our advocates are with the challenges. Third, another result we saw was that Mitel Champions is helping us unite our company! In January 2014, Mitel acquired a company called Aastra and it’s really helped with the integration. Mitel Champions has united us by providing us a single mission we are all working towards – promoting our company and helping it be best poised for growth!

Since launch four months ago we have 1,719 (as of December 4 2014) advocates signed up and have seen these results:

Total Advocates: 1,719
Engaged Advocates: 642
Challenges Completed: 130,250
New Advocates: 1,750
New Twitter Followers: 1,549
Twitter Posts: 60,597
LinkedIn Group Joins: 753
LinkedIn Posts: 38,936

What surprised you the most about the program?

This brilliant product showed ROI from day one. It’s hard to put a price on employee engagement but the teamwork we feel at Mitel as a result of this advocacy hub is stellar. Once we roll out lead generation challenges, the referrals that close will easily cover the cost of the product 10x if not more!

Something that surprised us the most was the many ways we could leverage our advocates. Here’s a good example. We used this great advocate marketing tool to help with Phase 1 of rebranding Mitel and our global advertising campaign. While the launch was on October 1, we started putting challenges into Mitel Champions about a month prior. When we were looking for creative ideas for brand launch day, we put a challenge in and overnight had 350 ideas from employees around the world! Leading up to the launch, we put in various challenges to engage with employees and give them information and tools leading up to the launch. Every time we saw a pattern where people kept asking the same questions, we’d put in challenges around that.

The day of the launch was a blast with Mitel Champions. We put in a few challenges to have employees help us promote the brand launch, share things from their local offices parties and kept them engaged for weeks. We continue to put in challenges to ensure our new brand messaging is shared and to keep employees engaged. Mitel Champions has become an integral part of Mitel and we leverage it for all our strategic projects.

Interested in turning your employees and clients to advocates?
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