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SXSW Interactive 2014

Brand Ambassadors: Risky Business or Pure Genius?

In today’s social world, many companies are broadsided by an unflattering pic-gone-viral, a rogue tweet or a cause-driven virtual lynch mob.
There are also organizations riding social media to extreme benefit; their employer branding, recruiting and online reputations have made them far more competitive. How? By leveraging the passion of their employees as brand ambassadors.
These ambassadors enthusiastically serve as champions for their employer’s brand. In the wake of their passion comes employee referrals, customer testimonials and word-of-mouth advocacy far more effective than traditional advertising.
“When we say it about us, it’s marketing. When others say it about us, it’s branding!”
This expert panel will discuss employees-as-ambassadors, including:
The cultures that enable brand ambassadors to thrive organically
How to leverage ambassadors in HR, marketing, and employer and product branding
Trend-setters and companies worthy of emulation
The ROI of social ambassadors

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  1. With social media so prevalent and sites like Glassdoor, the candidate experience is more important than ever. How can companies turn job applicants into brand ambassadors?
  2. Employees are the most under-utilized resource companies have when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing and brand advocacy. Why aren’t more companies taking advantage of “employees as ambassadors”?
  3. What elements of company culture combine to create an environment where social brand ambassadors are not only discovered and nurtured, but thrive?
  4. What companies are already doing this well? What makes them more successful than other organizations who have perhaps failed at social ambassadorship (and perhaps social media)?
  5. Every manager, leader and C-level executive wants to know: “What is the ROI of social recruiting”? How is that question best answered? What metrics do we track? How do we account for the intangibles brand ambassadors bring to the table?


  • Tim McDonald , Director of Community, Huffington Post
  • Mark Babbitt, CEO, YouTern
  • Lars Schmidt, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, NPR


Jessica Miller-Merrell, CEO , Xceptional HR

Meta Information:

  • Tags: social media
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Entrepreneurialism and Business
  • Level: Intermediate
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