Brand Ambassador Program

Running a brand ambassador program using everyday influencers is a great idea for many businesses. However, there are a few things that often get overlooked when developing the strategy.

Here are seven things to think about before you start and to keep in mind once you have already launched your program.

Determine What Success Looks Like

Any strategy you decide to develop and implement should always be driven by your overall organizational goals. Determine what you want to get out of the program as a brand. Even more importantly, identify what your brand ambassadors get out of the program. Their success is your success.

Before launching, set out a 6 to 12-month timeline outlining major milestones and measurable targets. As your strategy progresses, figure out what’s not working if you keep missing your targets.

Start With Your Team

Your team are the first point of contact any customers will have. If they don’t represent a brand that excites them, then your customers and external brand ambassadors will have a hard time creating brand excitement.

Internal buy-in is even more important than external support. Your internal team should be emotionally invested in your brand and product/service offerings if they are going to help you work towards a shared goal of success.

Listen Hard

Not everyone will be a good brand ambassador for your brand. Once you realize this, you have some work to do. Get to know your customers really well and have meaningful dialogue with them. Look for customers who engage in positive dialogue with you and other customers on your brand channels.

Build a list of potential brand ambassadors from your current customer list and do it with an open mind. Sometimes the best options might surprise you.

Reward Ultimate Loyalty

Give your brand ambassadors something to brag about so talking about you is just natural because it intertwines with their lives. You don’t have to pay them money, but think of your brand ambassador program as a loyalty program on steroids. A great example is a behind the scenes look at manufacturing or a special VIP event. The more time and effort you invest in your brand ambassadors, the more you will get out of the program.

Empower Each Brand Ambassador

Having a brand ambassador program is all about giving the power to your most trusted customers to tell your story. The idea is to have the customer voice drive brand visibility, not your internal, controlled marketing team. You don’t want to seem like the brand voice is controlling what your brand ambassadors have to say.

Keep Open Channels Of Communication

Brand ambassadors will be able to provide valuable feedback on your products/services and how you do business. You may find that you are missing valuable opportunities to connect with your larger audience as a whole. However, before you get feedback, you need to build up trust so they feel valued and respected. A great way to do this is to have direct access to a company representative that they can feel comfortable with on a personal level.

Be Patient

Rome wasn’t built in a day… Your ambassador program will take time to pick up speed if you do it right. Focus on a core group of brand ambassadors and grow the program as you see results. Starting small makes it easier to tweak the program until you get it just right and ready to grow.

A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications Blog.