Ever more executives want to create marketing magic by turning their consumers into "brand promoters". But with all the customer advocacy programmes flying around, many of them seem to miss the elephant in the room: their own employees might not be "that" inclined to recommendation themselves.

A great - and painful - illustration of this was recently offered by the German Commerzbank. In a survey of 25,000 employees, it appeared that 32% would "definitely not" recommend the bank and its services to family or friends. About a third would actually recommend the company as a competent financial services provider (source). Assuming about 150 social connections per individual (see Dunbar's number), the 8000 internal detractors can directly affect 1.2 million of their first degree contacts. Not to mention further amplification of the "did you know what XYZ just told me" variety.

From experience with other companies who had the courage to ask their employees similar questions, I know Commerzbank is not alone. In fact, once you drop the politically correct illusion that "all employees love the company they work for", the results can be pretty frightening. Especially if you consider that a negative recommendation from an employee is about the most credible source of detraction one can imagine.

So if you're in marketing and really want to work on customer advocacy, you might want to schedule a meeting with your HR team and check the state of affairs inside your business. Would your people recommend your products and services?  Would they actually want to use them for themselves? And - as we're on the topic -let me ask you one more thing. If your dad asked you a the next family dinner whether he should buy from your business, what would you really say?

Note:

Futurelab have joined forces with Bing Research to bring Fred Reichheld to the Benelux on May 10th. Yours truly has been chosen to act as “warm-up” act

We hope see you there! For more info click here!