How Nokia Turns Employees Into Brand Ambassadors

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

The theme of this month’s Social Media Meetup was “How to Turn Your Customers Into Your Brand Ambassadors” with Becky Gloyne, Social Media Manager and Global Marketing Talent Acquisition Manager at Nokia.

Becky is in charge of devising social media strategies and executing global employer brand strategy worldwide. In this meetup, Becky spoke about ways to turn customers and employees into brand ambassadors, social media strategies, and how Nokia puts their spin to them.

The Relationship Between Nokia and Its Employees

“What is the first thing that Nokia manufactured? Rubber boots.”

“When did Nokia sell their billionth mobile phone? 2005 in Kenya.”

These are just some of the facts that every Nokia employee knows – not just interesting trivia, but history, facts about where Nokia comes from and where it’s going as a brand. This is one of the things that unifies Nokia as a brand.

Nokia is known to be one of the most sociable brand online. For example, they’re the global sponsor for Social Media Week, being present in at least half of the cities where the events will take place.

A key reason why Nokia is so visible and approachable across social media platforms comes down to an important business decision – every Nokia employee can speak freely online across social media networks. Of course we do have social guidelines and guidance in place, but every employee can make full use of their personal opinion online.

We’re currently witnessing the biggest global technology transformation out there. Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, joined the company in February 2011 and in October the first Nokia Windows phone was released. This set a new direction for mobile phones and smartphones, while a new brand strategy was being put together within Nokia. With this new strategy, Nokia employees can tap into conversations online when there’s positive or feedback negative; they can use those conversations to promote new exciting things that are coming from Nokia, and this gives employees the power to go out on social networks and be real Nokia brand ambassadors.

Nokia have a celebrated path ahead of them but they still need to win back the hearts of their customers, businesses, and employees alike. One way to do so is by generating a positive buzz internally (within Nokia) and then encouraging employees to share that buzz online.  Getting your employees involved is vital for any brand: Nokia’s talent stories online have real credible stories because they’re from Nokia employees. All the videos and photography on the Nokia sites and social media platforms feature Nokia employees. By doing all this, employees will feel more encouraged to become your brand’s ambassadors.

When it comes to recruitment, Nokia generates a positive buzz and an infectious excitement among employees first and fans worldwide. It’s not just about producing and sharing campaigns: it’s about sharing conversations, getting people excited about Nokia, giving them a multitude of reasons to join the brand.

How does Nokia get its employees excited about the brand they work for?

Nokia uses a tool called Socialcast to get everyone in the loop and get everyone up to speed on what is going on. It’s a platform that resembles Facebook and Twitter not only in the interface, but especially in the way you can easily connect with people all over the world. This platform hosts a number of groups, including a feature talent group where interns can join and tell people about things that are going on and themselves too. Socialcast encourages employees to share their stories across social media networks too, so people can see a glimpse of what’s going on within Nokia. After all, nothing is more credible than your employees acting as your product ambassadors.

Besides Socialcast, Nokia also has a brilliant tool called Agora, a social visualiser. This tool brings together conversation, insight and consumer device activity anywhere on the web as long as Nokia is mentioned – the information is pulled from anywhere on the web and it’s used to see the sentiments concerning the brand in real time.
Becky went on to explain two of the strategies in place at Nokia – their social recruitment strategy, and their content model for talent strategy.

Nokia’s social recruitment strategy

  1. Social selection: using social media to source new talent.
  2. Social engagement: community building, establishing two-way communication.
  3. Social attraction: generating a buzz, sharing brand messages with the public.

Nokia’s content model for talent strategy.
There are several brands out there with complicated social media strategies. However, a strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be as easy as Nokia’s four-point plan, which coincides with Nokia’s four main aims:

  1. Entertaining – used when attracting talent or engage customers
  2. Inspiring – used for talent and engaging with customers, while positively influencing people.
  3. Educating – used for getting people to understand what’s going on behind the scenes, whether it’s with informative articles or entertaining interviews.
  4. Informing – letting people know where Nokia is going to be next, what Nokia is going to do next, because people want to know the people behind the company and what is going on. Giving people that information will empower them and encourage them to be our brand’s ambassadors.

Q&A Time

To conclude, Becky answered some of the questions from the audience.

Q. Where do you think Nokia turned the corner in leaving competitors?
A. When Stephen Elop joined there was a slight confusion as to what was going to happen next. However, Stephen is now fully aware of the platform and we now have one vision set in place, one goal we’re all working towards.

Q. What about small brands with limited budget – how can they get brand ambassadors?
A. You don’t need a big budget to get brand ambassadors – you don’t even need to have one! You’ll be amazed on how much you can do with no budget. Use social media in a very effective way, create your own content (photography, video etc), and be as creative and original as possible. This brings the “human element” into the picture and it puts a face to the brand, which is what people want to see.

Q. What is the best piece of advice for small brands?
A. Have a focus, a target, use social media effectively, and understand your audience.

Q. How do you excel in recruitment and keeping your employees happy?
A. We strive on getting to know and understanding the expectations of our employees and how we can keep them. We do so by sending lots of surveys throughout the year, and employees are encouraged to complete those surveys, to make sure they’re happy and that any concerns or doubts are expressed. This is also a way to get insight on what is going on in the outside world. We also organise a lot of internal events and we regularly communicate with our employees to make sure they all understand what is going on within our brand, why certain decisions are being made and how they affect them.

My Views

This meetup was definitely insightful – not only for up-and-coming brands and startups, but also for big companies and long-established brands. As I work in social media, it was very helpful for me to see not only what other brands are doing in terms of social media and engagement, but also what big game-leaders are doing to be more social and turn their employees into brand ambassadors. In fact, Becky’s honest take on Nokia’s social media strategy and what’s going on “behind the scenes” is actually living proof of how employees CAN become loyal brand ambassadors.


Our newsletter is exclusively curated by our CEO, Jörgen Sundberg, for leaders who make decisions about talent. Subscribe for updates on The Employer Branding Podcast, new articles, eBooks, research and events we’re working on.


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