Employee Advocacy Summit: Advocate Stories From the Field

Notes from the Advocate Stories From the Field session at the Employee Advocacy Summit in Atlanta, GA on September 15, 2014.  This is one of a series of posts recapping the day and key comments from speakers and guests.


avatar for Susan Emerick
Susan Emerick
CEO & Founder, Brands Rising, LLC

Ben Brenneis
Product Specialist and Sprint Product Ambassador, Sprint

avatar for Mike Ambassador Bruny
Mike Ambassador
Bruny Brand Ambassador

avatar for Louis Richardson

Louis Richardson
Storyteller & Enthusiast, Creativity Advocate, IBM


This panel, moderated by Susan Emerick, featured three passionate practitioners of employment advocacy. These were people who have been out in the field, creating employee advocacy programs at large and distributed companies.  Each had a unique perspective to share about their own experiences, but shared a common passion about employee advocacy and the value it can create.

  • What’s in it for the employee?  You need to contend with who to recruit and how to get them committed. – Susan Emerick
  • EA helped me network with people I would have never met before.   Executives actually listened to what we said and want, because they knew we were the voice of the company. – Ben Brenneis
  • After 6 years of working at Intel, EA allowed me for the first time to fall in love with Intel.  – Mike Ambassador

Top Benefit of EA Program

  • “Saved money.”  Also able to humanize the brand and products being brought to market.  – Mike Ambassador
  • Moving beyond PR.  Employee’s passion about Sprint and their job make it shift from a job to a career.  It’s PR you cannot pay for. – Ben Brenneis
  • “Your people don’t want to be your marketing shills!  Let them share their personal experience and knowledge, not necessarily your brand’s PR and marketing message” – Susan Emerick

Most Important Piece of Advice for Employee Reward and Recognition

  • 2 things:  1 – Paying attention to what type of employees these advocates really are.  Being an advocate is not their 9-5 role.  2 – Get to know them as people as well. – Mike Ambassador
  • Gamification techniques such as a belt system, avatars, points that go towards merchandise and lastly being empowered to show off technology at events on behalf of the company. – Ben Brenneis
  • Managers tend to lean on credentials, the way programs historically rewarded employees. It’s best to let it go and run its course, without trying to manage too tightly. – Louis Richardson


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