Many business leaders have been taught that CEOs and executives should be the ‘voice’ of a brand, while professional models should be the ‘face’ via commercials and ads. This all comes from a very traditional and hierarchical system of doing business, dating back to a period when social media wasn’t an option for brands to communicate with their consumers. But today, according to a recent Gallup study, we live in an age where 4 of 5 smartphone users check their devices within 15 minutes of waking up and 53% of people would rather give up their sense of smell before their access to social media. That point, coupled with the fact that regular employees are seen as more credible than the CEO of a brand (52% over 49%)*, means that now, more than ever, brands should be engaging their employees, making them the faces and voices projected to the public.

Reebok's employees are dedicated to tough fitness, so why not make them models for the Reebok brand?

But it’s not as easy as coercing your employees to ‘fake’ it. Fabricated messages written by PR teams and fed through the mouths of regular people won’t work.

Why? Because employee brand advocacy is more than just word of mouth marketing – it translates into real dollars. The Gallup study showed that companies with high employee engagement have 3.9 times the earnings per share compared to industry peers or competitors.

When Reebok shifted its strategy to focus 100% on fitness, the brand also dedicated itself to creating a corporate culture which would reflect its fitness mindset – in turn, growing a community of engaged employees who live and breathe the brand’s values.

Humans of Reebok

Reebok’s Be More Human Campaign is a rally cry for people to embrace fitness as a catalyst to optimize the quality of their lives – to push past their limits to be better people both in and out of the gym. Reebok created a corporate environment where employees are empowered to ‘Be More Human’ – to sweat during the day, to eat healthy and to really enjoy the Reebok community. With such an engaged team of employees, the brand often utilizes its own people as models and voices of the brand on social media and beyond.

So what can you do in your own company to move the needle? Whether you’re the boss or an intern, your voice can make a difference in the way your company operates.

1. Know your mission

Understand and remind yourself of your company’s mission – it will make the day-to-day grind more fulfilling and you more excited to share that mission with the world.

2. Build your personal brand

Voice your own accomplishments and encourage your colleagues to stand out – to do the same for themselves and their teammates both internally and externally on social media.

3. Re-think traditions

If you’re the ‘boss’, try to reconsider how you present your brand to consumers – use your employees! They make for an authentic representation of your brand, whether that’s on social media, or even in an official ad campaign.

Check out some of Reebok’s own employees (who also double as models and brand advocates!).

Maddie Clarke, Product Marketing
Having worked with various photographers and professional fitness models on different projects, I have learned that, although our company values of living a healthy and fitness-oriented lifestyle are shared across the industry, our culture here at the Reebok HQ campus is unique.
Many other brands will talk the talk, however, we walk the walk. The fact that our own employees are used in marketing campaigns and advertisements is a testament to the brand strategy of leading by example in the fitness industry.
Matt Hagerty, Product Marketing
I love being active. Not necessarily the traditional workout lifestyle – but more along the lines of playing pick-up basketball with my friends or boxing a few rounds at the gym. I never go because I feel like I have to; I go because I want to. Keeping it fun is what keeps me going back.
Being around this community of fitness that Reebok has built has me thinking about the bigger picture – mobility, cardio, and the most surprising change has been eating healthier without even realizing it.
Alison Smith, Copywriter
One of my biggest passions is just getting more people to enjoy working out, and specifically to get more women into the weight room lifting weights. I feel so empowered and confident as a direct result of lifting weights, and I want to share that with others.
It is really awesome to work alongside such like-minded people. I didn’t totally expect it in a corporate setting, but everyone lives and breathes fitness culture in their own way. They are all about being the best versions of themselves, which means there is so much positivity and teamwork that happens.
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Humans of Reebok

We are taking on challenges that many would call crazy. But it’s all for a purpose: to inspire people everywhere to be their best…physically, mentally and socially. We are the humans of Reebok.

Join Team Reebok

*Edelman Trust Barometer

3 COMMENTS

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by Aman Anand 23.08.2016
A well written blog post, employees are ambassadors too. This is understood mainly from a financial perspective. Amplifier value of individuals is still yet to be unlocked or completely understood by decision makers.
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by Gemina Stroud 23.08.2016
Reebok gets it! I agree, employees should be treated as the 'faces' and 'voices' of brands. Whether they are in retail, marketing or customer service center, often times the employee is on the front line, the first/only face or voice a customer will see. I would love to see brands such as Reebok/Adidas take it a step further and include regular, every day, brand loyal consumers in some campaigns as well!
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by Shaba 25.08.2016
Great piece, Olivia! I so admire Reebok's trajectory and how the marketing messaging springs from a beautifully humanistic place - one that the employees exemplify on so many levels. Really inspiring stuff.
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