Brand ambassador programs are the ice cream to apple pie, the free movie on a transatlantic flight, the t-shirt gun to sporting events. None of these items are necessary for the functionality of the actual events themselves, but their existence makes them that much better. A brand ambassador program, though not crucial to a company’s functionality, can significantly enhance the experience offered by the company.
In his post 10 Things To Remember When Creating a Brand Ambassador Program, Mack Collier explores the most important factors of creating and maintaining an ambassador program to add that special spice of experience into what the company has to offer. These ten items consist of:
1 – Spread the word internally as well as externally.
2 – Research, research, research.
3 – Start small, grow big.
4 – Make membership exclusive.
5 – Connect with your advocates and create ways for them to connect with each other.
6 – Pay your ambassadors.
7 – Give your advocates direct access to the brand.
8 – Create a feedback loop between the brand ambassadors, and the brand.
9 – Give your ambassadors the tools to create something amazing.
10 – Transfer ownership of the program from the brand, to its ambassadors.
Concentrating on items 7-10, the importance of the actual brand ambassadors over the program itself is incredibly apparent. A company could create the best brand ambassador program this side of Pluto, but without exceptional brand ambassadors to breathe life into that program, it might as well not exist.
In the post What to Look for in the Best Brand Ambassadors, Shelly Justice examines some of the qualities that a company should look for in its attempt to “staff” its exceptional brand ambassador program. Some of the qualities expressed by Justice are particularly apt to satisfying terms 7-10 explored by Collier.
First and foremost, a brand ambassador should “share the company’s philosophy”. While this may seem like a given, its importance cannot be understated. In order for someone to appropriately act as an ambassador for a company, he or she should be breathing the same brand-filled air as the company itself, enthralled by the purpose of the brand, obsessive about its exceptional products. To convey a love for a brand online, the passion for it in real life should be 10x as big.
Second, they should “embrace innovation”. Brand ambassadors will be tasked with cutting through the thick fog of stuff on the internet to convey a message to select groups of people. As is true now, and will become increasingly important over time, this skill will take a bit of innovation and creativity on part of the brand ambassador. Is the ambassador capable of harnessing emerging technologies to better spread the word? Can he or she identify new ways of using old technologies to create an exceptional brand experience for customers and advocates of the brand everywhere? These are considerable topics to be explored when selecting brand ambassadors.
The last item of the list that I’d like to explore is that the brand ambassadors “are passionate and have a strong personality”. In order to discuss the brand and brand promotion with the company, other brand ambassadors, and consumers and advocates alike, brand ambassadors must have strong personalities. This trait, in tandem with the two aforementioned from Justice’s list, rounds out the necessary components of a brand ambassador by stressing the importance of the enthusiasm and capability in conveying that enthusiasm in a brand ambassador.
In order for a company to give its advocates direct access to the brand, create a feedback look between the company and the brand ambassadors, give ambassadors the tools to create something, and transfer ownership of the program to the ambassadors, these traits, among others, are absolutely necessary.