This article talks about what a company ambassador is and explores both active and passive company ambassadors.
Each company has unique qualities that their customers, partners, investors, and employees know them for. From customer service, specific products they offer, the experience provided, and the culture that is present – there are many characteristics that a company can be known for. What it usually comes down to is how companies become known for these characteristics, and that depends on how they are represented. How does a company express their culture? How do they create an experience for customers? How do they portray their products, services and themselves? One of the main ways that all these aspects are represented is through the employees!
Whether they are aware of it or not, employees represent the company they are working for and therefore help in creating the public image of the business. Employees’ representation of the company, their brand, their culture, and the products and services they offer is considered being a company ambassador. In this article we will take a look at what company ambassadors are, and compare the differences between an active and a passive ambassador.
What is a Company Ambassador?
A company ambassador is someone that represents the company. Representing means symbolizing, expressing, or characterizing what the company stands for – who they are. The most common company ambassadors are the employees of the business. Being an ambassador for a company is a privilege and should be taken seriously by employees, as they are participating in creating the image of the business they work for and respect.
Being an ambassador and representing the company are done in many ways and can be purposeful as well as unintentional. Purposeful actions could include generating positive exposure and raising awareness through digital media or offline channels, recommending products or services to potential clients, or educating a potential client on what the company provides. Unintentional actions could include what they are wearing outside of work, how they present their appearance, as well as their behaviours and actions outside of the workplace as someone could recognize them as an employee for the company and therefore base their opinion of the business on that employee’s representation.
The definition of “active” is to be engaged in action, participation and/or progress. In terms of being a company ambassador, active ambassadors are those that are aware they are representing the company, respect the company they work for, and choose to characterize the company’s ideals. Active ambassadors have a clear understanding of how the company wants to be represented and they receive information about the company in a way that initiates curiosity and motivates them to take action.
The active ambassadors of a company will work to have a clear understanding of the company’s mission, vision, and values, and will involve themselves in the process of sharing those aspects of the company. They also won’t easily deviate from the company standards and will act to remedy the situation if they or others have deviated. Active company ambassadors will usually be involved in leading, mentoring, or teaching those that may be passive ambassadors within the company. Active ambassadors are true marketing, sales, and recruiting assets.
A great example of an active company ambassador would be an employee who goes above and beyond when explaining a service to a customer or potential client. Rather than just explaining what the product is in a few short words, they explain what this product means to the company in a way that embodies their mission and vision, while also demonstrating the values of the company. This shows that the employee has great care for the company, and truly understands the “why” behind what the business does. An active ambassador would also be able to answer most (if not all) questions a client had for them, and if they didn’t have the answer, they would find the answer and ensure the client is left satisfied with the information received.
The definition of “passive” is not visibly acting in a way that is expected or communicated, and not participating in an active or ready manner. It can also be defined as accepting or allowing what happens and what others do without active response or resistance. Passive company ambassadors tend to be reactive rather than proactive in the sense that they may follow instructions, but are less likely to have initiative and take things on without being asked. They may receive information, though they may not follow-up with any actions being completed.
Passive ambassadors may be unaware that they are representing the company, or they may be choosing not to. There could be many reasons that an employee chooses to be a passive ambassador if it isn’t due to unawareness, however, this can come across as disrespect for the company they work for and could have negative effects on company’s image. Passive ambassadors also tend to not have a good understanding of the company’s mission, vision, or values. What the company represents and stands for. If they do have that understanding around the company’s ideals, they tend to not demonstrate them.
Using the same example as before, the scenario can look very different with a passive company ambassador interacting with a customer or potential client. A passive company ambassador would likely explain the product/service of the company sufficiently. They would be unlikely to go further into describing the “why” behind these products/services, or other details that would show the value of what the company is offering. It is also more likely that a passive company ambassador wouldn’t be representing the values of the company, whether that be because they don’t know them, don’t fully understand them, or choose not to represent those values. A passive employee would also be more likely to not know the answers to questions the person is asking, especially if they required more in-depth answers, and would likely not find the answer and follow-up.
Ambassador Reflection – Active or Passive
After reading this article and gaining more understanding about active vs. passive company ambassadors, it may be a great time to reflect on the employees in your company. Which employees are active ambassadors, which employees are passive ambassadors, and how can you help elevate passivity into activity?
There can be great value in identifying employees’ roles in representing the company, as the company can then work to understand why different employees are active or passive ambassadors. Knowing this information will help a company know where they should be spending their time developing talent as well as initiatives to create more “active” employees!
To expand further on the topic of company ambassadors and to help with the implementation aspect, we will publish a series on how employees can be good company ambassadors along with how the employer can support them in the workplace.
Download this resource Company Ambassadors – Active vs. Passive.