In the World of Brand Ambassadors, These 3 Things Motivate Them the Most

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Jul 13, 2016
This article is part of a series called How-Tos.

Brand ambassadors are vital to representing your company in an accurate, favorable way. Not only can they improve your consumer brand, but they can also positively impact your employer brand, enabling you to hire top talent. 

How can brand ambassadors impact recruiting? Think of them as your best resource for your employee referral program. A 2015 ICIMS study found that 63 percent of the 107 HR professionals surveyed say they have a documented referral program, and more than half agree that referred employees stay longer, feel more satisfaction, and are better cultural fits.

All of your employees can become brand ambassadors. It just takes some training and commitment to an employer branding strategy. Develop your staff into a group of advocates for your company’s mission, values, and vision. 

Train employees by encouraging them to share news and information on social media. The LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report found that 47 percent of the 3,894 hiring managers surveyed say social media is the most effective employer branding tool, offering multiple outlets that provide unique features that can help with recruiting.

Also, consider hosting workshops to teach them how to use their voice to spread a positive brand message and to submit strong referrals to help recruit talent.

But how do you get everyone on board and excited about this new role? Develop a system of rewards to motivate your team.

Here are the top three drivers of behavior and how employees respond to each one in a unique way: 


Cash is a great motivational tool. Everybody loves earning money for their services, so when employees are competing to refer the most talented candidate, they need an incentive like money to do their best. 

Micro rewards are good for engaging employees to submit referrals. Every employee who provides information about one of their connections should receive a small thank you.

These can include lower valued items such as music streaming subscriptions, coffeeshop gift cards, and gym memberships. If you know your employees well and understand your culture, you will be able to find the best incentives for the staff. For example, if your culture values wellness, offer gym memberships instead of a basket of chocolates.

Promote seasonal giveaways in raffle campaigns for bigger ticket items, like skiing lessons, wine tasting, and paid vacation trips. Document these big giveaways and request pictures from the employees’ fun experiences to share the winnings with the rest of the company.


Some people prefer social recognition over financial incentives. Sending gratitude messages are great for brand ambassadors who are motivated by the accolades.

Celebrate successes publicly in creative, fun ways. Make brand ambassador t-shirts and mugs for top performers. Send out newsletters that detail everyone’s accomplishments. Announce rewards at company events and present a large check, which is a good way to add a social aspect to a financial incentive.

Host a happy hour get-together with everyone at a local restaurant or bar and toast the top referrers. Post leaderboards to the company’s internal web portal or on a visible bulletin board so everybody can see and feel motivated to engage in the friendly competition.

If you notice that social rewards are more meaningful and garner more participation, focus on budgeting more toward events and celebrations.


While many people love being publicly celebrated and earning extra money, another popular way of rewarding participants is through various charitable gestures.

Most people feel even better when they know they’re making a difference for those in need and impacting the world in a positive way. Drive participation and build a group of brand ambassadors by adding charity rewards.

There are several altruistic incentives you can promote. For example, the top referrer can select a charity for the company to donate to. You could reward the leading participants with annual passes to America’s national parks and wildlife preserves.

Adopt endangered species like pandas or elephants under the winner’s name. Offer paid volunteer days to allow them to build water wells for clean water initiatives or lend a hand in building houses for Habitat for Humanity. 

Ultimately, it may be best to integrate all three of these motivational factors into a well-rounded reward program. The end goal is to increase participation, find the best referred talent, and continue to build a strong company by adding and retaining excellent employees.

Document and publicize the employee referral program and the rewards system through email campaigns, newsletters, and social media to keep the whole company informed about the power and importance of brand ambassadors.

How are you incentivizing your employee referral program to create awesome brand ambassadors? 

This article is part of a series called How-Tos.
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