Advocacy vs. Ambassadorship (Hint…there’s a difference)

Advocacy vs. Ambassadorship

Those of you who know me know that I am passionate about the role of advocacy within organisations—the extent to which people collect knowledge, form opinions and share them with their colleagues.

But when I talk about advocacy in organisations, I am met with this response, “Yes, Mike, we should start an ambassadors programme.”

A lot of people collapse the definitions of ambassadorship and advocacy.  On the one hand, they address a common need:  to generate positive word of mouth.  On the other, though, they represent profoundly different approaches.

In the larger world, the word “Ambassador” means an official representative of a formal entity, in most cases, a country. That means that ambassadorships are formal and official, and ambassadorial views to represent those of the country that employs them rather than their own opinions.

In contrast, advocacy reflects the committed expression of one’s own opinion, and the…

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