How Do You Reward Your Employees Who Serve as Brand Ambassadors?

empower employees as brand ambassadors

In my witch’s hat at left.

At a Halloween breakfast of the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island, (PRPLI) I led a lively discussion about how an organization can reward its brand ambassadors.

As my loyal readers know, I’m a champion of companies’ inviting their employees to serve as advocates for the  brand on their personal social network accounts.

Empowering Your Employees

During my presentation I discussed the six steps to empowering your employees, which includes “provide incentives and rewards.” But what are those rewards, asked on audience member? Among the possibilities offered up were:

  • Cash. But if you’re a nonprofit that’s not always possible.
  • Party. Invite your ambassadors to their own private party with an invited guest.
  • Gift. Many organizations use a corporate gift catalog with gifts priced at varying levels. You get to pick when you’ve reached a certain goal.
  • Parking spot. Last employee to arrive usually gets the parking spot furthest from the entrance. How about a top reward of a choice parking spot?
  • Time off. This incentive really resonated with the audience. Who isn’t pressed for time to get your personal errands done when you work so many hours? Got my vote.

Below is the presentation, which includes how companies like Coca-Cola, Zappos, IBM, The Gap and Long Island companies Henry Schein and Bed Gear are engaging their employees as brand ambassadors.

Does your company reward your brand ambassadors and how? Please add to the list with other potential awards in the comment box below.

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  1. Those are all good ideas. I especially like the extra days off idea. I suspect most people who are loyal enough to be brand ambassadors would take the time off when it had the least impact on their work.

    • Hi Brian — glad to hear from you. I like the extra day off, too. While it seems that it might cost the company money, most employees would make up the work, so it’s a win-win.

  2. Hello Jeannette. I thought this was a well written post. I liked your suggestions. I am an amusement equipment reseller, and my family used to operate a small children’s carnival. We provided the rides for the Shiner Bock Company employees picnic which was paid for by money from their vending machines and supplemented by opening the carnival rides to the general public the rest of that week on a pay per play basis with part of the gross going back to the employee’s fund for the next year’s event. As for time off I think even letting someone come in 15 minutes late on a Monday morning could be a big deal. If i had employees then I would definitely reward them for promoting the company. And I do my best to show my appreciation to friends and family who have helped me personally or my website through social media shares, etc. Thanks again for the post. Take care, Max

    • Hi Max. Thanks for stopping by. I like the combination of donating part of the proceeds from the business for an employee picnic and giving time off. I know when I was working for a company, I found Monday mornings the toughest to get going. I would have appreciated a little more time.

  3. Loved that presentation Jeannette. I think I can hear you!

    When I was a manager, I would ask my employees, “What would inspire you to …, the task at hand being done superbly?” Then that would be the number one consideration to recognize them. Some rewards don’t work for everyone so I was after knowing how everyone wanted to be rewarded.

    applause applause applause Jeannette!

    • Thanks, Pat. More than anything, employees want recognition for their work and a manager who wants to help them become even better. That’s the best reward.

  4. Great presentation, Jeannette!

    Agree with you completely that brand ambassadors should be rewarded. The best way of doing so varies from company to company. Have a feeling the two most common ones are gifts and giving a party.

    • Catarina — thanks for sharing your own experiences with rewarding employees. It made me think of an experience I had with a former agency that “gave” a party for their employees. The charged clients by the hour and we were all responsible for billing at a certain level. The first thing that spoiled the after-hours party was being told we had to make up any lost billing hours on our time. Then the party was a command performance boat ride on a vessel that was so small we were literally stacked up next to each other. Trust me, we were a bunch of very unhappy campers.

  5. Yes brand ambassadors should be rewarded. I think giving them a day off with pay would have the best impact. What is interesting many people would prefer recognition instead of money, a day off or a party. Each person has a different expectation of what reward means to them.

    • Arleen — that is so true. We’re so pressed for time, that time off with pay is very appealing. But you’re so right when you say that people have different needs. For example, I never liked company parties. Always someone who drank too much and too much forced gaiety. Yet others couldn’t wait for the party. Different stroke for different folks.

  6. Excellent post, Jeannette – sending you some social media love, too!

    Like everybody else, i too think some time off would be perceived well basically by anyone and everyone 😀

    However, i think recognition is often a powerful motivator to do even more of the same that got you the recognition in the first place. So if you have internal newsletter – you should definitely feature there the top brand ambassador, or maybe several – depends on the format. Which actually bring another point – maybe “employee of the month” section in the customer newsletter or something similar is a nice way to recognize brand ambassadors as well 🙂

    • Diana — Public recognition is a great reward. If you work for a very large company, that recognition may resonate with leaders in other parts of the organization and could lead to your career advancement.

  7. I have to say, that I am impressed that rewarding your employees is something that you give serious thought to at all! And double kudos for asking them what THEY want, rather than proffering what is easiest for you! Back in my day, it was pizza for lunch…worked like a charm and they all loved it.

    • Thanks for visiting, Jacqueline. Maybe back in the day pizza for lunch was enough and maybe it still is. But if someone asked me, I’d rather have a day off!

  8. Good suggestions. I am always amazed when leadership does not appreciate that employees are one of two things outside of the organization, great ambassadors or great detractors. Which way they go is completely up to management. Rewarding the brand ambassadors makes the employees decision simple.

    • Debra — how true. All an employee needs to do is hop on to his or her social media network and say something nasty about the company. That’s why employee engagement and valuing your employees is so crucial to a company’s success today.

  9. Lorraine — oh, those tedious staff meetings I used to attend. Great idea to use those meetings to recognize someone’s achievements. You’d soon find employees doing their best work just waiting to be praised!

    • Becc — you’re quite right. People are motivated and feel rewarded in different ways. So giving them more than one option is a great idea.

  10. When I worked in the corporate world we always rewarded the brand ambassadors. We would create contests, special incentives, etc. We also created an environment that encouraged team work. 🙂

  11. Dan — that’s assuming they work for a consumer products company! Seriously, companies need to screen employees — especially the pilot group — who are seriously committed to being brand ambassadors to help the company and themselves succeed.

  12. Those are great suggestions Jeannette. When I used to work for the United Way, we used to reward employees with food quite a bit. One of the best received incentives was “jeans” day. We also had the parking space incentive too. Non-profits really need to be inventive!

    • Sherryl — it was actually a woman who worked for a nonprofit that suggested the parking space idea! Now “jeans” day wouldn’t be considered a reward because for so many companies every day is jeans day.