How to Create an Employee Brand Ambassador Program (Part 1)

This blog is part of a 3 part series on brand ambassadors and how recruiters can leverage them for marketing, branding and candidate applications. 

When it comes to convincing the modern, internet savvy consumer to buy, choose, or relate to any brand, your best bet remains what it has been for thousands of years, word of mouth, or personal referral. Knowing this and being able to translate it into the world of recruiting and talent management are vastly different things, but there is a bridge between the idea of “word of mouth marketing” and the world of talent acquisition it is the “brand ambassador”.

The words “brand ambassador” are aligned with the rise in employment branding as part of the larger recruitment strategy, candidate experience and company brand building. (Click here for the entire article on the historical timeline of the candidate experience or see the graphic below.)


Who is a Company Brand Ambassador?

You’ve heard the term before, and you probably have some ideas about what it means, but let’s get down to a basic definition we can use to start this conversation. First, here are some things that are often confused with brand ambassadorship but are not:

  • Paid spokespeople, or “poster children” for your company. This is actually one of the least trusted means of building brand confidence.
  • Recruiters of any sort. Again, these people are seen as “doing their job” when they tout the benefits of working for the “XYZ Agency.”
  • Outspoken “apologists” for your brand. Even if these people are not paid and genuinely believe the things they share, it is often seen as suspect, or over the top.

Instead, brand ambassadors are the quiet, considerate, thoughtful people who have had a genuine experience either being employed, or being closely related with an employee and are willing to share their positive perspective with others.

  • Long time employees who have had a track record of good experiences with your company.
  • Family members, such as spouses, or older children of long time employees.
  • Friends and community members who have been positively impacted by employees, especially when that impact was directly related in some way to your brand.

These individuals are a gold mine of recruiting mojo. They drive conversations both online and offline as well as applications, interest and the overall employment culture and vibe of the organization from the outside as well as in. The stories they tell are a powerful motivator for people looking for more than just a job. By learning to help them share their stories in simple, powerful ways, you can harness the strength of referral marketing to start conversations that might not happen any other way.

Over the next two parts of our series we will help you learn to develop your own army of brand ambassadors to turn your company’s community into a positive force for recruiting and keeping the best people. One of the best parts, it’s low cost and the sharing that takes place genuinely works to build stronger community, giving you more brand ambassadors. It is truly a win/win process.

Be on the lookout for part 2 and part 3 of this series on employees and brand ambassadors. 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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