Bidding for Change at eBay

By Julie Knight 

How eBay is re-branding itself by turning employees into brand ambassadors. Watch the video below.

At SF IABC’s meeting, “Reinvigorating the eBay Brand from the Inside Out,” we got an inside glimpse into how eBay is working to shift perceptions of the company by turning its 12,000 global employees into brand advocates.

Changing Perceptions

In recent years, eBay has faced fierce competition from Amazon and a growing number of online retail competitors. People still think of eBay as a place to bid on previously used items, even though, today 80 percent of items are new, sold with a click of a “buy now” button without bidding at all.

Creating Employee Brand Ambassadors

eBay joined forces with the international communication firm Instinctif Partners to develop a multi-faceted engagement program aimed at inspiring eBay employees to become brand evangelists for the company and dispel misperceptions about eBay. One key component, the power of social media.

According to Tobias Huebscher, director of employee communications and transformation, eBay, “We believed that our own employees were our greatest brand advocates, but they needed to be inspired and educated. When we started discussing this initiative about a year ago, we discovered that our employees didn’t understand what they could or couldn’t socialize about the company they worked for. We wanted to change that.”

Employees received crash courses on the ins and outs of social media, tools to share their stories about the brand and campaigns inspiring them to buy, sell and give on eBay (if they weren’t already), so they could speak to those experiences with authenticity.

Phillip Sontag, engagement director, Instinctif Partners, explains, “We encouraged employees to have fun. We asked them to share their passion, love and pride for eBay on their social networks to bring eBay’s new brand purpose to life with hashtags #WeAreeBay and #WhatsYourPerfect.”


Turning the Tide

In just a few days after the campaign launched, 1,500 employees generated close to 500K media impressions in social media, using an app to help eBay track and monitor results. eBay achieved an increase in employee engagement, up to 48% engagement for some of its programs. Thousands of employees posted comments about eBay to their social networks.

Phillip adds, “The campaign is ongoing. eBay is committed to its employees and further reenergizing its brand from the inside out.”

Check out the slide deck for meeting highlights and the video with this article to hear what some of our SF IABC members had to say about “Reinvigorating the eBay Brand from the Inside Out.”

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Taking inspiration from eBay’s employee engagement campaign, the San Francisco chapter of IABC would like you to participate in a similar campaign of our own.

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Julie Knight is an award-winning, accredited business communicator and writer. Her clients have included The Walt Disney Company, Starbucks, Cisco Systems, McKesson Corporation and Hewlett-Packard, to name a few. Connect with Julie on LinkedIn or

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