AdvoFest: The Brand

Advocacy Conference

AdvoFest is an interactive and insightful conference, focusing on how to create, empower and enable brand advocates. The event takes place on the 8th October in Birmingham and best of all it's FREE to attend!

Our Speakers

We’ve handpicked some fantastic speakers who between them will cover forward-thinking customer experience, the future of brand advocacy and innovative marketing.

Ash Ali

Co-Founder at

An award-winning serial tech entrepreneur and angel investor, Ash Ali sold his first internet business at the age of just 19 from his parent’s loft in Birmingham.

As the first marketing director of Just Eat UK, the online takeaway-ordering platform, he used his commercial acumen and creative growth hacking skills to grow it at breakneck speed - including launching its first TV campaign. Just Eat went public in 2014 at £1.5 Billion - making it one of the UK’s largest tech IPOs in the last decade.

Next, Ash co-founded Fare Exchange - a bootstrapped lead-generation company in the private transportation space that generated more than £25 million in revenue and recently his on-demand mobile app Washplus was acquired in Dubai.

His new book “The Unfair Advantage: How You Already Have What It Takes to Succeed ” is out In January 2020 at all top bookshops and online.

Just Eat: from challenger brand to public offering at £1.5 billion

Colin Buckingham

Senior Digital Marketing Manager

Colin Buckingham is a multi-award-winning marketing communications expert, specialising in leading media & content strategy for consumer goods brands. He is currently, Senior Digital Marketing Manager for Birds Eye.

His experience covers the full mix of communications touch points, and I have led major brands on digital, social, media and strategy. Recently, Colin was involved in the #Solidaritea campaign which won a number of accolades.

The campaign featured an online film to show support for mums and dads around Britain to celebrate the sometimes thankless parenting moments they face, and to stand with them in #Solidaritea. The film celebrates the positive roles that parents play in supporting the honest views of parenting on social media, which recently came into negative focus in an article in the Daily Mail that berated mums around the UK for being ‘slummy mummies’ because of what they say on social media about being a parent.

How Birds Eye’s #Solidaritea campaign won the hearts & minds of the UK public

Jamelia Donaldson

Founder & CEO

Starting her career in Financial Services and PR in major cities New York and Beijing, Jamelia Donaldson is the founder and CEO of @TreasureTress — Europe’s largest monthly product discovery subscription service for girls and women with kinky-curly hair and also the
co-creator of @TheTeenExperience, a series of personal development workshops series for teen girls.

Since launching in 2015, with a huge online community, and an active and thriving offline presence, Treasure Tress has proven that natural hair, beauty, sisterhood and community truly go hand in hand.

While delivering haircare packages to over 26 countries monthly, TreasureTress has grown to become much more than ‘just a subscription box’ now managing UK’s upcoming influencers, building digital campaigns for brands, consulting the largest global beauty brands and hosting the most spoken about offline activations for and by multicultural women in the UK’s major cities including their Annual Pop Up Shop.

Jamelia has been featured in Forbes, Buzzfeed, Gal-Dem, Good Housekeeping and Pride Magazine just to name a few and was listed in Ad Age’s Women to Watch 2019 Europe list.

Jamelia has recently launched #ShesObsessedThePodcast to highlight the experiences of successful and game changing Black British Women.

How to activate your fans and turn them into brand advocates

Ben Freeborn

Head of Customer Experience

Ben has over 20 years’ experience within marketing, ecommerce and commercial management. He’s worked both agency and client-side, including Boots, BMW and presently, flower delivery retailer, Interflora. Ben combines a passion for brands and customers, to successfully serve both business and customer needs.

Why it’s time to bridge the gap between CX & Marketing

Laura Chamberlain

Associate Professor of Marketing

Dr. Laura Chamberlain is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Warwick Business School. Laura is particularly interested in Consumer Behaviour and Customer Experience and researching the importance of consumer emotions, trust, loyalty and how to influence customer’s behaviour.

Laura has won awards for teaching excellence and is passionate about the transformative potential of marketing education. Laura was awarded Lecturer of the Year 2019 at the Education Awards.

Laura is also the co-founder of The Marketing Insight Series (MiS) which aims to bridge the gap between academia and industry. MiS was awarded Entrepreneurial Education Establishment of the Year 2019 at the Education Awards. Laura’s work has appeared in a range of journals including the European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, BMC Neurology and Annals of New York Academy of Science.

Why it’s time to rethink and redefine customer loyalty

Lee Wilcox

CEO & Founder

On the Tools is a social media and marketing agency boasting the largest online construction community in the UK, currently standing at over 2.5 million.

In 2017, CEO Lee Wilcox was named the Great British Entrepreneur for the Midlands region, which was a massive accolade and real validation of the impact that On The Tools has made in terms of becoming a disruptive and creative social first marketing agency and also in recognition of the development and support of an engaged and vibrant construction-based community.

Last year On The Tools managed to win the People’s Choice Award as part of ‘Pitch@Palace’ an entrepreneurship initiative developed by HRH The Duke of York and held at Buckingham Palace. Earlier this year OTT CEO Lee Wilcox was listed in the Sunday Times/Maserati 100, which recognizes game-changing entrepreneurs who are disrupting the business world. Further validation of the impact that On The Tools has had on UK Construction in a relatively short space of time.

How Electric House built an engaged community of 2.5 million fans

Kate Hamer

Co-Founder & COO

Kate Hamer is a Marketeer who has specialised in Digital for over a decade. She worked client side for more than 15 years in global household brand names such as Orange, Unilever, Tesco, Disney and L’Oréal. She has a range of B2B and B2C experience. In 2015 she established her own consultancy where she's worked with a wide range of clients in sectors such as Beauty, Entertainment, Food & Drink and Sport.

In 2018 she joined forces with ex-professional footballer Louis Saha to develop AxisStars. This secure and private platform connects Stars from the worlds of Sport and Entertainment directly with trusted brands and service providers.

Why influencer marketing needs to focus on trust and authenticity

Jerry Angrave

Managing Director

Jerry Angrave is managing director and founder of Empathyce, a customer experience consultancy and training company based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Jerry is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) and is one of just a handful of people globally to be authorised by the Customer Experience Professionals’ Association to train other practitioners for that accreditation.

Jerry’s corporate background is in senior Customer Experience and Marketing roles at the likes of Lloyds Banking Group in the UK. He also worked with other financial services companies and airlines while living in New Zealand.

As a consultant and trainer, Jerry works with airports and travel companies, utilities, financial services, professional services, industrial manufacturers and software companies among others. Clients include: American Express, Liverpool Airport, Nationwide Building Society, Tui Travel, Wales & West Utilities and National Grid, Pfizer, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Buzzacott Accountants.

Jerry speaks at CX events around Europe, sits on the International Development Committee of the Customer Experience Professionals Association and has been a judge at the UK Customer Experience Awards, chairing the ‘Professional of the Year’ category.

Discover who should own the customer experience

Stuart Banbery

Marketing Director

Stuart Banbery is the Marketing Director at Orlo, he has a background spanning multiple industries and is responsible for all strategic and brand operations. Stuart is passionate about helping organisations harness the power of emotional connections to create powerful customer experiences. Outside of work Stuart loves outdoor pursuits, travelling and is a keen Triathlon competitor.

How digital transformation can enhance the customer experience and reduce costs

Samantha Cox

Customer Service Duty Manager

Sam manages the award-winning customer service team at the UK's largest coach operator, National Express. The National Express Group also spans continental Europe, North America, North Africa, and the Middle-east.

Sam has built years of specialist knowledge building and managing digital customer services initiatives that underpin business objectives regarding channel-shift, efficiencies, revenue generation, and customer satisfaction.

Social media, live chat, and wider digital transformation are just some of the areas where Sam has used her experience to support the millions of customer journeys that National Express manages each year.

How to shift from a ‘cost centre’ to fully focussed on the ‘voice of the customer’.

Oli Hills

Managing Director

Oli is Managing Director at Updates Media which helps brands reach local communities at scale through tailored social content. Updates Media harnesses the power of local community pages on social to build brand awareness & loyalty at a personal level. He is a regular speaker and thought leader for disruptive business models.

How to reach local communities at scale through tailored social content

Sue Kong


Sue Kong is one of the founding Directors of NHS Elect and leads on marketing, branding and patient experience for its 70 NHS members across the country. She is a CIM Chartered Marketer and has over 25 years’ experience in NHS hospital management and strategic planning at regional level.

Her previous posts include Executive Director of Strategy and Planning for North West London Strategic Health Authority. She has created the first and only NHS organization that provides a one-stop shop for all strategic and operational marketing and communications needs. She has been a speaker at Warwick Business School on ‘Marketing in the NHS’ and sits on the Editorial Panel of ‘Journal of Patient Experience’, founded by SAGE & Cleveland Clinic, US.

Improving the patient experience through digital and proactive communication

Anushka Malhotra

Marketing and Strategy Executive

Anushka Malhotra is a recent Master’s graduate in Marketing and Strategy from Warwick Business School. Anushka is a Customer Advocate and a MarTech Enthusiast who found her niche interest in Consumer Behaviour, Consumer Neuroscience, Neuromarketing, and Customer Experience.

Anushka orchestrated an innovative piece of research, which offers a multi-dimensional view and proposes an integrated managerial concept of brand advocacy. The research identifies the potentials of brands Collaborating with its customers and thus, investigates what drives and impedes customers from being brand advocates.

In the process of conducting the research, Anushka garnered riveting insights from industry experts with hands-on experience working for the likes of Interflora, Barclays, and Assurant. Further, Anushka picked the brains of several consumers to delve into their motivations and inhibitions for exhibiting advocacy behavior.

Anushka has been awarded her master’s degree with a place in the top 10% of her cohort and has achieved a distinction for her piece of research. She has also been accoladed with the Best All-Rounder Student, Best Research Project and a Gold Medal for Academics in her undergrad.

Deep dive into drivers & inhibitors of Brand Advocacy

We are proud to be a part of Birmingham Tech Week 2019


Brand Advocacy

Find out why brand advocacy, modern marketing and influencer engagement needs to be built on trust and authenticity

Customer Loyalty

Hear why it’s time to redefine what customer loyalty is and how to shift from a transactional relationship to an emotive one


Discover how collaboration can help you build communities,  crowdsource transformative ideas and co-create innovative products

Employee Advocacy

Learn why great brand advocacy starts with a successful employee engagement strategy


The Space

iCentrum is a state of the art venue that's conveniently located just off the A38 and has fantastic city centre transport links.

Viewing Pleasure

The location boasts a 6m+ wide screen and state of the art audio & visual equipment, meaning you won't miss a beat.

Sit Back & Relax

A 200 seater auditorium with lots of space gives you plenty of opportunities to network inbetween the fantastic presentations.

You’re Being Served

Coffee on arrival (check), lunch provided (check), a cheeky glass of wine over networking (check) - don't worry we've got you covered.


09:45 - Arrival

Arrive at the venue and network with like-minded people over a cup of coffee or tea

10:45 - Opening Address

Yiannis Maos, Co-Founder of Hyve introduces AdvoFest 2019 and gives you a taster of what’s to come…

11:00 - Ash Ali: Marketing lessons from building Just Eat

Learn how Ash Ali helped Just Eat go from challenger brand to public offering at £1.5 billion – making it one of the UK’s largest tech IPOs in the last decade.

11:30 - Colin Buckingham: The importance of being responsive and relevant

Learn how Birds Eye’s #solidaritea campaign won the hearts and minds of the UK public by showing support for mums and dads around Britain.

12:00 - Coffee Break

A chance to stretch your feet, have a natter and grab a cup of coffee

12:30 - Samantha Cox, National Express and Stuart Banbery, Orlo: How digital transformation can enhance the customer experience and reduce costs

National Express and digital customer service technology partner, Orlo, will take you on a journey of how they transformed contact centre operations at one of the world’s largest coach operators. Discover how National Express drove down response times and increased customer satisfaction across social media and live chat, helping to encourage a digital channel-shift of almost 30% and significant efficiency savings. National Express will also share how they transformed customer services from a “cost centre” to the “voice of the customer” for the wider organisation.

13:00 - Networking Lunch & Exhibition

It’s time to grab some food, have a chat about the morning’s presentations and check out the exhibition featuring the latest marketing technology

14:00 - Panel Discussion: The Future of Brand Advocacy... featuring the Sue Kong (NHS Elect), Jamelia Donaldson (Treasure Trees), Jerry Angrave (Empathyce), Ben Freeborn (Interflora) and Kate Hamer (AxisStars)

Our panel discussion will feature a diverse range of subject matter experts who will discuss the future of marketing and customer experience

14:45 - Oli Hills: How to reach local communities at scale through tailored social content

Learn how reaching consumers at a local level can lead to higher engagement and help you activate your local ambassadors.

15:15 - Laura Chamberlain: Why it's time to rethink and redefine customer loyalty

Dr. Laura Chamberlain, Associate Professor of Marketing at Warwick Business School, will look at how loyalty is changing and what we can do to re-engage our consumers. Laura has won numerous awards and her work has appeared in a range of publications including the European Journal of Marketing.

15:45 - Lee Wilcox: Learn how to build an engaged community of 2.5 million fans

Lee is CEO at Electric House, a social media and marketing agency boasting the largest online construction community in the UK, currently standing at over 2.5 million. Learn how they built this audience and what you can do to build your own.

16:15 - Closing Address

Yiannis returns to summarise the day and give you information on how you can get involved with the AdvoFest community

16:30 - Networking

Share your favourite bits with other delegates over a nice cold beer or glass of wine

18:00 - Afterparty

As this event forms part of Birmingham Tech Week, we’ll be heading to The Alchemist for a some cocktails (all delegates will recieve a wrist brand entitling them to special offers).


Hyve is a Customer Advocacy Platform (SaaS) that turns happy customers into advocates that spread positive word of mouth, generate ideas, help with marketing and deliver support to other customers.

Orlo is a complete online engagement platform that helps leading brands create powerful customer experiences and marketing at the perfect digital moment, influencing behaviour at scale. 

MiS is an unprecedented series of events, ranging from top industry speakers, to skills workshops and student challenges. MiS was created to help bridge the gap between academia and industry.