I was guest speaker for a group of business owners in Canada and one of the attendees asked a question that I think you would love to consider in your business. The owner was looking to make some changes to her staff of 10 and expand her brand power while at the same time narrowing her niche and allowing her team to handle more responsibilities. We discussed the strategy to do so and then I told her to enlist the help of her team as brand ambassadors.
Whether you have a team of 1, 10 or 100 you should tap into the power of Brand Ambassadors for your business. What is a brand ambassador? They can be your paid or unpaid sales force, always out in the marketplace conveying your worth and presenting you as you would present yourself. When most people think of brand ambassadors they think of the promotional models or hosts that pass out flyers and giveaways at expos and large events, but they’re much more than that.
You probably already have a team of brand ambassadors in your clients, past clients, prospects, partners and fans. What you now have to do is formally enlist their help in building awareness, experiences and engagement for the community. Statistics show that people are more likely to purchase when they are persuaded by reviews from other people. So how do you start?
1) Incorporate Brand Education
Usually the most education a staff member or partner gets is at the beginning of the brand relationship. Without periodic updates and education as the brand identity progresses and gets refined things get disjointed. You want to rely on your staff for carrying through with the look, feel and personality of your brand. By incorporating period “training sessions” your staff feels including in the success of the brand and are able to carry out the engagement of your brand as if it were their own. It also allows you to identify when your values are not aligned with those of someone else (a big brand barrier)
2) Enlist Your Clients As Part of Your Team
Happy clients make the best brand ambassadors and are easy to enlist. You can start by gathering testimonials and then staying in touch with them. As you make changes and accomplishments in your business be sure to inform them and let them know. Another way to enlist your clients as brand ambassadors is by developing a ‘review team’ – a small group of people that you run new materials and services by to assess what really resonates with them. Since they’ve used your services in the past and are on the receiving end, they can tell you what will and won’t be appealing to others that you serve.
3) Give Them All Some Motivation
How you choose to reward your employees versus your unpaid sales force is a matter of personal preference (and budget). For employees you can support simple perks such as commissions, recognition, awards, gifts, time off and promotions. For your unpaid sales force you may need to get a bit more creative. Most of the time clients are looking for a) cash back b) discounts and c) special treatment d) exposure. Work once of these perks into your invitation for ambassadorship and you’ll be set.
So, how should you invite your clients to be brand ambassadors? Here’s a template to get you started:
I have some really exciting news that I’d like to share with you and out of all of my clients you’ve been selected to partner with me in a unique and very exciting way. First of all, things are expanding here at [company name] and as the buzz has been building we’ve started to become more aware of our silent spokespeople. With the work we’ve done for you, the joy that we had in the process and your honest and insightful posture we feel that you’d be a great brand ambassador.
What does that mean? Basically it means you get us… you get our value, our promise and our personality. We’d like you to be our eyes and ears as we move forward with new products and services and we promise to reward you in a way that benefits you the most. Though our needs will change, our message will remain the same and we need you to help us keep our finger on the pulse of the marketplace.
Here’s what it will look like:
Sometimes we’ll send you a description of a new product or service we’re offering and we’d like you to review and and tell us if it makes sense, if it doesn’t add any value, if it’s priced inappropriately or if it’s just too vague. This helps us to be the best at what we do and we know you’ll see the elements that we can see because we’re so close to the project. In exchange, we want to reward you with cash, discounts, a nice day at the spa or exposure for your business. You decide. We value your input and your time, so we’ll leave that up to you.
I hope you’ll consider it and let us know if we can partner in this way. Think about it and we’ll give you a call in a few days to see what you’re thinking. In the meantime, if you have any questions about it or prefer to shelve this offer for another time, just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or just give us a ring.
Thanks for being such an asset [Name], either way, we’re glad you’re on our side.
Sincerely, Principal, [Company Name]
Ready to enlist Brand Ambassadors? If you need help or want to run things by me to review them, don’t hesitate to get in touch 🙂