There has been much debate in our industry about the term “ambassador program” and its merit and relevancy in today’s business environment. Some say that brand ambassador programs that script employees are dead.
I agree. Top-down programs that enlist employees into an army of automatons who can recite a mission and elevator speech do not align with the reality of a diverse workforce.
Instead of narrowly focusing on how to force employees to tout the company and its products, strategic business leaders are creating opportunities for workers to promote change initiatives and philanthropic endeavors within the organization. Employee ambassador programs that empower people who have a natural affinity to align with worthy causes to make a difference are thriving—and driving up employee engagement scores.
Vitiello Communications Group (VTLO) has developed successful employee ambassador programs in partnership with several of our client companies in the Fortune 100. We’ve seen how a handful of energetic employees, equipped with training and tools that they have a hand in customizing, can make a significant impact on their co-workers and on the causes they care about. There’s no substitute for passion. Employees who bring it to their roles as ambassadors are raising their colleagues’ awareness, increasing the impact of charitable giving and improving their organizations’ reputations.
On Tuesday, October 21, I have the privilege of sharing how to create a dynamic employee ambassador program at the 2014 IABC Heritage Region Conference in Providence, R.I. VTLO’s session will focus on the business case for building programs that go beyond the brand to touch the hearts and minds of employees.
As communicators, we have to change the way in which we think about—and implement—ambassador programs. One thing is certain: employee ambassador programs are alive and well.