05 Jan. 2016 | Comments (0)
Once you start celebrating your stories,” says Jennifer Jones, senior director, community relations, “you will find that everyone has a story to tell and wants to tell it. The trick is to provide a way for them feel comfortable telling it and doing so in their own voice.” Each year, Ameriprise recognizes one employee, one advisor, one employee team, and one advisor team for life-changing community work through its Community Impact Award. Nominations come from the employees themselves, as well as from leaders and nonprofits, providing a wealth of stories that are used in a number of ways.
Last year, for example, a financial advisor was honored for his work in establishing and supporting a foundation for children battling cancer after a client’s child died of the disease. The story was shared three ways. First, it was publicized internally on Ameriprise intranets and at internal meetings, including a major Ameriprise conference. Working with the media relations team, the CSR communicators shared the story externally, through social and traditional media. Finally, templates and tools were provided to the advisor, so he could also tell the story through his personal social media accounts and on his advisor website.
Another avenue for finding stories comes from the company’s quarterly recognition of the top 50 volunteers. In this case, the CSR communicators focus the stories on best practices around how volunteerism helps financial advisors build their local brand, or how it was a component of their development plan, so community involvement is integrated into the very essence of being affiliated with Ameriprise.
Ameriprise also uses its National Day of Service, which is focused on alleviating hunger in partnership with Feeding America, to gather stories. In 2014, there were more than 400 events, and each site leader answered a survey on the impact of the event in the community. The survey included a free-form area for stories about the team’s activity.
To augment efforts to tell these stories, financial advisors receive a set of communication and social media templates for their own use. “When an advisor posts a picture of him- or herself volunteering on Facebook, it comes across as very real and adds personality. Clients see that it really connects with them. They see their advisor is a person who cares not just about business, but about their community as well,” notes Jones.
Informational calls with participating local food banks empowered and engaged the food banks in sharing stories as well. Finally, a survey conducted by Feeding America of those same food banks provided Ameriprise not only with valuable data, but with stories from the perspective of the non-profits.