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Steve Rubel at Circus: “You Need to Put Your Individual Employees out There and Let Them Become Brands”

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Edelman Digital SVP and Director of Insights Steve Rubel spoke at Mediabistro Circus today in a presentation titled, “Marketing Using Corporate All Stars.” Rubel started off with a bit of a lay of the digital land, saying, “We’re all dealing with this firehouse of information and there is no end in sight.”

However, as it is PR and marketing’s job to get attention for products or services, our room for getting that attention is increasingly limited. Rubel reminded the audience that the average American visits only 111 domains and 2,554 web pages per mont, and “I don’t think those numbers are going to bet bigger,” he said.

Citing the Edelman Trust Barometer, Rubel said that people trust conversations with company employees most. He hinted at the idea that companies who have the most evangelists are going to win. “You need to put your individual employees out there and let them become brands,” he said.

Why is this important? “It’s about who we follow and when,” and it’s often going to be someone “who I feel is like me,” he said. “Recommendation engines for content and friendships are going to get better and better.” The first way to do this is to think about who the “rock stars” are in your company that are “already out there today that you can blow up. If the answer is one, how can you cultivate them?”

Here are questions we think a few brands would ask about this strategy:

What specific policy, if any do I have to set around this type of communication? What if I am a publicly traded company, how does this change my strategy?

What if my “rock star” leaves, taking his or her network with her? Does this mean it is important to build out a team and not rely on any one evangelist?

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