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For employer brand teams wanting to centralize and activate those employee voices, a brand advocacy program may be your answer. “Brand advocacy, at its very foundation, is about how people are talking about the company,” Briana Daugherty reminds us. Daugherty is the Employment Brand Specialist at Cox Enterprises, where she’s built a brand advocacy program with exceptional engagement.

Cox built out its program by fine-tuning its nomination, training, content creation, engagement, and measurement processes. Daugherty and her team’s approach serves as a valuable roadmap for other organizations (perhaps yours?) eager to build brand advocacy programs of their own.

Daugherty first tapped Cox’s recruiters to join the brand advocacy program. These employees were already used to serving as the “face” of Cox to the public and had relationships across the organization’s many divisions.

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After bringing the recruiters onboard, Daugherty turned to Cox’s employee resource groups and division leaders. She asked for the names of employees who were already visible and enthusiastic contributors to Cox’s volunteer initiatives (like Cox Conserves, a sustainability project). Daugherty’s team invited these nominees to an open house-style informational meeting about the brand advocacy program and gave out a more formal application.

The employer brand team presented its pitch to these prospective brand advocates: an opportunity to share their experiences with Cox while elevating their own voice and personal brand, getting access to exclusive trainings and career growth opportunities, and earning prizes. The pitch was effective, and Cox soon had a brand advocacy program with strong cross-divisional representation and momentum.

Cox’s brand advocates set a powerful example for other organizations getting started with advocacy programs of their own. But sustainable advocacy is not just the job of a hand-picked few, Daugherty reminds us. “Even if you’re not a part of our program, we believe that every employee at Cox is an ambassador because you’re telling the story wherever you go.”

“People want to be heard,” she says. Employees will find an outlet for their voices; if your team has been listening closely enough, a rewarding brand advocacy program can meet that need.

To follow more of Briana Daugherty’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. For a clearer picture of how your company compares with others in your industry, reach out to us—our Employer Brand Index uses 16 key attributes to measure your employer brand.

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