Communication is no second thing
At the annual kick-off, the imc brand ambassadors learned from true professionals what personal branding really means and why communication must be more than just an afterthought.
How can I position myself as a brand ambassador in my company? How do I find my topics? What exactly is that widely discussed personal branding all about?
To discuss these and new topics for 2021, the imc brand ambassador crew of around 30 members, met for the virtual annual kick-off in early February. As a special highlight, Steffi Tönjes and Karim Cheranti from Deutsche Telekom presented their perspective of personal branding.
Telekom Ambassadors share insights
Following the welcome by imc Executive Board Member Sven R. Becker, who has supported the programme from the start, two special guests were waiting for the group: Steffi Tönjes and Karim Cheranti work in Corporate Communications at Deutsche Telekom and are part of one of the biggest and most well-known brand ambassador programmes.
Karim and Steffi take a clear position on their topics on social media, and discuss issues like communication, TikTok, social media in general, as well as female empowerment.
Personal branding means personal development
Personal branding was also the keyword they both talked about. In their presentation, they show that it is more than just a buzzword. After all: Personal branding is not about marketing yourself, but about personal development.
To say it with Jeff Bezos: "Personal branding is what people say about you when you are not present." Their simple tip for checking what is known about you is to google yourself.
Steffi and Karim then offered a few tips to the imc ambassadors on where to start with becoming your own personal brand. Setting clear objectives is key, and that includes having a clear concept of the topics you want to talk about and what concerns you.
Next, an opinion leader on these or related topics needs to be identified, so that you can examine how you can be different. You might also benefit from a challenge with another colleague – for example on how often something should be posted.
Communication is a must, not an option
Both speakers were very clear on one appeal: Communication must be more than just an afterthought! All too often, we hear the excuse that there was no time for communicating or explaining certain topics.
Karim argued that transparent communication is key – especially, but not only for managers. It is necessary for getting employees on board, exchanging ideas and obtaining feedback, as well as for creating networks with others.
imc's brand ambassador programme was founded mid 2019.
Participation is voluntary and all employees are welcome.
Brand ambassadors are not just an external function
Following the presentation by Steffi and Karim and a Q&A session, the imc ambassadors were split into two groups. The imc brand ambassadors want and should address both external and internal stakeholders, and also strengthen internal communication and networking.
Thus, the first group examined how internal collaboration and networks can be strengthened. The ambassadors felt that especially the exchange between different divisions should be approached strategically and intensified. They discussed various informal and rather formal formats serving this objective, such as job shadowing, play days and even a second internal BarCamp.
The second group looked at a digital imc roadshow. Originally, the idea was to use it for increasing awareness of the different locations and introduce them internally. However, the group quickly agreed that it would be better to also open the format to external stakeholders – so that customers can see what makes each location special, and what core topics each location is addressing.
Now, the results of those discussions must be put into action, maintaining the momentum. That is also what Kerstin Steffen, Head of Global Marketing and Communications at imc wants, who started the programme.
She sums up: “We will pass all ideas and requests on to our Executive Board, and develop the concept proposals. It is very important to us that we can show our ambassadors and all other employees that we value their ideas and do our best to realise them.
We are thrilled that our employees continue to play an active role and that the team keeps welcoming new members. It goes to show how important these topics are for our colleagues.”
More than just selfie overload
Take a look behind the scenes of the imc's Ambassador Program and learn more about why our employees' hearts beat for the corporate brand.
A plea for diverse learning content
Diversity is increasingly becoming a hygiene factor in our working world. E-Learning Content Project Manager Kenny appeals: “The diversity you want must also be reflected in your learning content.”
I have been working in the imc Marketing & Communication team since March 2019.
I am passionate about communication, creative content, networking and social media.
Explaining complex content in simple terms and making e-learning accessible to everyone are challenges that make every day exciting.
In my time off, I like to read, play poker and travel a lot.
I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than just selfie overload – The imc AG brand ambassador programme
Brand ambassador or corporate influencer programmes are currently enjoying tremendous popularity. Some programmes arise organically, others are the product of strategic planning – but they all have one thing in common: they are based on passion for the corporate brand. This couldn’t be more true for the imc brand ambassador programme. In came to life as a delicate seedling in the summer of 2019, and has now grown to a strong team of around 30 ambassadors that regularly exchanges ideas, learns together and drives topics.
Today, we are catching a glimpse behind the scenes, presenting the programme and some of the contributors.
Why was the imc Brand Ambassador Programme established?
Every company is colourful, building on the range of it’s employees’ tasks and personalities. We wanted to showcase this diversity and these different dimensions through our ambassadors.
Moreover, the digital transformation has brought many changes, especially in terms of communication. It is becoming faster all the time, and the number and diversity of channels is constantly increasing – in particular, in social media. While we appreciate the benefits digitalisation and digital communication channels bring, personal contact remains paramount. After all, communication still happens between individuals. This is particularly important when conveying values and emotions or establishing a relationship of trust. Of course, this doesn’t render traditional corporate communication redundant. But we believe our brand ambassadors complement it perfectly. Their communication is marked by authenticity, especially when they talk about their daily tasks. They are the face of the imc brand.
Our mission is clear: bridging our employees and clients, candidates and partners. Our ambassador crew makes daily happenings at imc public. We prioritise dialogue and open, honest and constructive discussion.
How did the programme start?
It all started in the summer of 2019 with a simple idea initiated by the imc communications team. Following numerous brainstorming sessions and an initial concept, the communications department gave the programme a jump-start to bring it to life. Since it is anchored in Corporate Communication, close alignment with current affairs is guaranteed. Moreover, the imc Corporate Communication team is available to provide guidance and support for any communications issues without restricting opportunities for contributing ideas and inspiration. This is very important to us. After all, the programme thrives on diversity and the sheer range of ideas and suggestions.
Who can become an imc brand ambassador?
When it comes down to it, every employee is an imc ambassador. The individual included in the actual ambassador programme (want to) stand for the imc brand in a special way. The group is self-organised across hierarchies and business segments. Two Community Managers assume a senior role and ensure regular coordination dates are scheduled and information is provided in a transparent manner. Yet, everyone on the team shares the same passion: to make their matters and their work visible. Paired with curiosity for digital media and enthusiasm for thinking outside the box, daring to try new things and learning. Participation in the programme is voluntary (and is open to anyone interested).
What is the programme content?
Usually, when you hear “ambassador programme”, you think self-staging and selfie overload. Naturally, our ambassadors also post selfies. But primarily, they take a clear stance on the topics close to their heart, and collaborate, network and learn new things. As a company that stands for professional development like no other organisation does, we must also ensure that our employees have the freedom and opportunity to expand their horizon and keep learning. Making connections with other people and communities, exchanging ideas and benefitting from other people’s knowledge and experience is a win-win situation for the ambassador, as well as for imc.
Roughly every three weeks, the Community Managers provide information on current communication and marketing issues. Our ambassadors discuss the topics for their own Espresso Webinars and special projects, such as whether it would be feasible to launch an imc Merchandise Shop. We also welcome any feedback on planned events like our diversity event series or our bar camp. Another aspect of the ambassador remit is to represent the colleagues’ needs at each location. It is our genuine attempt at ensuring that we meet all expectations and needs.
Short and sweet. Exciting speakers. Hot topics. Our 15-minute Espresso Webinars offer an insight into a specific topic through (online) live sessions and/or direct support for questions raised by the audience.
What are the future plans?
The Espresso Webinar series is enjoying great popularity with 80-100 participants per session. So, we will continue and expand them. Before corona, we also held an after-hours “Social Media Kitchen Talk” every quarter. Once meetings in a suitable format are possible again, we would like to put this event back on the table. Our ambassadors are increasingly engaged as speakers and participate in Community meetings, bar camps and (virtual) conferences. We want to support these efforts with a range of training sessions and Deep Dive Webinars on selected topics, such as personal branding or speaking at online events. We are currently planning a little roadshow through the imc locations, and would be thrilled if the imc Merchandise Shop did materialise. Towards the end of the year, 2021 projects will be planned in a joint strategy workshop.
Meet some of our Brand Ambassadors
I’ve been a member of the imc crew since February 2019. My multi-faceted tasks always keep me on the go. In addition to my work on corporate brand, marketing and communication strategies and employer branding, I also delve into the operational side.
I have a passion for networks and communities. That is why I represent the brand ambassador programme in the editorial team. I am also actively involved in the SCHULEWIRTSCHAFT (School-Business) network. Privately, my big passions are travelling, Disney and interior design.
Main topics: imc Ambassador Programme, Brand and Marketing Services, Future of Work