Employees and partners, the great brand ambassadors. Employee Advocacy cases (1)

Today I address the case of exemplary companies that put people at the centre. To launch a program of in-house brand ambassadors (Employee Advocacy), in-house professionals need to be motivated, well-paid, with a branding purpose as a guide, with the possibility of reconciling, to train, to improve... Perhaps for this reason there are few companies or institutions that can afford to launch them (ironic mode ON). 

If you're short on time, I invite you to see this summary of 1 Minute (in Spanish): 

Some of these cases have been provided to me by university course participants Personal Branding Strategy and Master in Digital Marketing, both from UVic Thank you, cracks!

Decathlon, professionals with blue blood

Forwards: Aleix Serra

The French multi-sport sales giant is a clear example of a company that applies the employee advocacy.

Decathlon has what's called "blue blood.", relative to its predominant corporate color. Blue blood is the "decathlonian" feeling that the company seeks (doesn't want) instill in their workers.

The most surprising thing and for my significant reason of the case is that as I saw it was the workers themselves who generated this concept. At Decathlon everyone was very clear that to aspire to a fixed contract you had to have blue blood.

Although I think that this concept of obligation / pressure that is generated is not entirely good,  it's certainly a clear motivation for the worker.

Decathlon handles the issue very well. It doesn't give you any way forward. It is you who must prove (if you're interested in the company) you deserve the position. They give you complete freedom to chart the way and every worker has to "convince" their responsible.

Beyond the commercial issue what is sought and asked is to create an emotional bond. A link preferably related to sport and healthy lifestyle habits. Decathlon wants sports people on his roster (this is reflected in their job offers)

At different Decathlon centres I have seen popular events organized such as pedaling, yincana or directed outdoor zumba classes.

With this motivation, it is possible to create a bond between client and employee.

Also in another clearly identifiable aspect of employee advocacy, Decathlon selects brand ambassadors annually. These should always be employed and act as "testers" of the product. Your job is to give feedback to product developers and work on a constant product improvement.

Although Decathlon works in sections (grouped by sport type) every worker has the possibility to test any product in the store without giving explanation. A provisional exit is managed and there is no purchase commitment.

Also recently I learned that Decathon is pivoting slightly as to its employee profile. The French are clear that they want to maintain this corporate personal branding policy, but they're realizing that maybe people from 30 , 35 Or 40 years fit better into this profile. Until now they found that youth had a hard time valuing all this inner workings. Now they're looking for a more stable profile.

For example, I leave you this video I found of a Decathlon Valladolid worker that as a seller of the fisheries and nature section he exercises convinced as ambassador of the #teamsolognac.

Starbucks: We don't want employees, we want "partners"

Forwards: Jana Coll

I've had very clear the example of a company that implements an Employee Advocacy program: Starbucks.

Starbucks Corporation is an international coffee chain founded in Washington.

It's the world's largest coffee company, with more than 24.000 locations in 70 Countries. Starbucks markets processed coffee, hot drinks and other drinks, in addition to snacks and other products such as cups, thermos and coffee beans. It also offers books, Music and movie CDs.

I was aware that Starbucks implemented a strategy of social listening on their social networks consisting of talking to their customers to find out what they really want and need. With this strategy, connect with your customers, creating the Starbucks online community to the company's different social media platforms and blog. With this strategy he has created two-way communication with his clients, building a strong relationship with them. In this way, the company can discover new knowledge to apply to the company.

For these reasons I have suspected that Starbucks would implement an Employee Advocacy strategy with its employees and found that it was well on track.

Starbucks refers to its workers as "partners", this decision affects their sense of relevance in the company, their activities and social media.

I've detected that the company implements an Employee Advocacy program because it has created specific social media accounts for its partners – its employees. I leave here some links: Instagram , Facebook And Twitter. In these accounts you can clearly see how partners create their own content using photographs of themselves working, with colleagues, with new features... Etc.

I've detected how Starbucks incentivizes its partners to create content on social media, through a SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDE with tips to do and not creating content on social media, I share the link in it: https://globalassets.starbucks.com/assets/731ee25a5fd245e1902c91adeb77135f.pdf

This online guide is a hit because it can be updated instantly.

In addition, has a specific website for its partners : https://starbuckspartners.es/.

This explains how to be a partner, what it entails, how Starbucks contributes to the development of its employees, job roles or profiles, has the views of other employees and a section of social engagement and actions that are carried out.

In my opinion, I wish all companies had a website where they specified all these important concepts when they came up with you or accept a job. I think it would be a factor win/win both for the company and for the candidate, because it would make it easier for people to do their day-to-day customizing schedules and jobs, ensuring higher performance.

Backus (Peru): The humanization of the brand

Forwards: Vicky Doig

Backus it's a brand that works very well programs employee advocacy. It has turned employees into brand ambassadors, from the CEO to the operators.

Backus is the leading company in the Peruvian brewing market, and is part of AB InBev. It is recognized by customers and consumers for the quality and variety of its portfolio of beer brands, waters and other drinks. They maintain a successful business trajectory of more than 140 years in Peru, and has recently taken the top spot in the merco talent ranking 2020 as the most attractive company to work in Peru.

On LinkedIn they have 1.935 Collaborators, from the president of Backus (Sergio Andrade Rincón) even their fellows. Everyone shares organization content in their posts, achievements, your job, the campaigns in which they are participants, Etc.

Backus has had an intensive presence during the pandemic, have carried out several social responsibility actions and projects for the country's economic revival, in which his collaborators have been protagonists, like the #MeUnoAlMillónChallenge among others. (You can see them in https://www.backus.pe/)

Its Employer Branding strategy has been based on a large Program of Employee Advocacy and Executive Branding

The ranking achievement is because your Employer Branding strategy has been based on a great Employee Advocacy and Executive Branding program, because in this way they have humanized a brand whose focus is on production, making it people trust people. In this way the collaborators mention that Backus is as big as his people, and Peruvians believe That Backus is as big as Peru.

Key-i: Your people are your brand

This case I had the opportunity to live it live, when a couple of years ago my colleague from Get in Valor, Eva Collado, and I provide a training of Brand Ambassadors.

Key-i is a company located in Elche (Alicante), are true experts in Digital Transformation, I'd say they were the pioneers. They offer Software Erp solutions, Ecommerce,  Marketing Digital, Business Intelligence, Migration to the Cloud and Cybersecurity.

The first curiosity of the formation is that in it was the 100% of your people, including your wonderful receptionist. I must confess that your recruitment policy is admirable, they look for people with energy, but especially wanting to wear the brand's shirt, proud of belonging. That's the work of your People and Culture Manager, Isabel Bonmatí, and also who's on top of everything (without them it wouldn't be possible), Vicente Ballester And Joaquin Garrido

The second thing that caught me the attention of Key-i is that it is a very horizontal company, no more hierarchies, and where an operator is as important as anyone else.

The third is that they understand perfectly that your people is your brand. So much so that they demand their candidates a Social Selling Index LinkedIn minimum to enter. You know what, as it often says Tom Peters, "we all sell, all the time and everywhere". And they know that a person exercises a higher level of trust and security than a brand or company.

The fourth curiosity is that, believe it or not, Department of People and Culture and Communication... share space! Amazing, No? Can you imagine this happening in other companies? 

If you go on their website, the first thing that catches the eye is that instead of the classic "about us" or "who we are", figure the expression "How we are"and that already indicates that they have perfectly applied the idea of generating empathy, the idea of conveying values. In that section, I highlight a photograph of ALL his troops jumping with his shirt on. That's more than just team spirit.

As for your social media activity, the company proudly shows its people, not afraid of being stolen. And professionals proudly show their membership in Clave-i and share corporate content by adding value and humanizing them.

They use several generic hashtags from their specialty, but also some exclusive, as #ClaveiTD, why it's very easy to follow your activity.

Your Blog it's a marvel, weekly newspaper, great quality of content and most importantly, signed with the first and last names of its authors, boosting your personal brand and the Key-i brand at the same time.


There is no one-of-a-kind formula, but a requirement: the one mentioned at the beginning of the post: People in the center. Companies that promote precarious jobs are left out of this.

Nor is there a leading country. At first it was the US and its allies in the World. USA, but now we see good practices employee advocacy in every country in the Western world. Even in the US, it's not the only one in the The U.S. also finds worst cases, like many global fast food companies.

I suppose it's more comfortable and cheaper to sign a Celebrity as an external ambassador to put employees at the center; but that policy has a short life, and the end customer starts prioritizing a Starbucks employee's good deal over one at McDonald's. That means that we're willing to pay more money for a coffee of the first and less for a burger of the second. Boomers and Gen X forgive bad business practices, Millennials and Centennials, No.

And to conclude, I leave this phrase from another of the participants of the UVic, Francisco Verón, that perfectly sums up the idea that Employee Advocacy is a part of the culture organization: 

“The development of a strong organizational culture can only generate integrated employees who live and share positively with their community the experience of being part of the company”

Stock Photos from Aerial Motion / Shutterstock

To find out more

I'll leave you some links from this same blog to find out more:

And if you want to implement a program in your company, this ebook explains all the keys:

Employee Advocacy ebook by Guillem Recolons

You can buy it here > Employee Advocacy: The Power of The Brand Ambassadors of the House.

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