The First Rule of Ambassador Programs

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Ever since I deconstructed Fight Club scene-by-scene in an undergraduate film class, it has pulled me back to illustrate various messages over time.

My unyielding love of Fight Club aside, there is a meaningful connection to brand ambassador programs in its storyline.

For those who have seen the film, you might be cringing a bit. How can I use one of the most iconic anti-consumerist artifacts from American pop culture as a blueprint to promote brands? The reason is not to be ironic. I just love Fight Club.

For those who have not seen it, IMDb sums up the plot of Fight Club nicely by stating, “An insomniac office worker looking for a way to change his life crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker and they form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.”

Anyone who is considering creating a brand ambassador program might like these three take-aways from this 1999 classic:

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1.       By emphasizing exclusivity, you create zealots. And, that’s a good thing for a brand ambassador program. The film’s most quoteworthy scene outlines the rules. “The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club.” By emphasizing how exclusive this group is, the founding 15 or so members who were sworn to silence could not help but share how cool it was.The article 10 Things to Remember When Creating a Brand Ambassador Program recommends you make membership exclusive.

In order to have an ambassador program, you need to recruit a select group of participants. With that role, their words carry weight when talking to others.

2.       Plug your ambassadors smack-dab into your brand (the seventh tip in the article I mentioned). By the time that Fight Club members had passed their initiation, they were completely integrated into the community and ready to roll. Note: your brand might want to go about this onboarding process in a less intense manner that they did in the film.

3.       Your brand ambassador program can fuel future initiatives. The film’s climax shows a well-organized effort called Project Mayhem, which sought to deflate the consumer values the community was against. This initiative was possible because members broke the first two rules not to talk about the club. The brand community that was Fight Club had grown so large and so focused on its mission that it became more like a cult. Craziness aside, it is clear that their goals to grow as a community ultimately provided enough dedicated members to execute Project Mayhem.

How would you choose your brand ambassadors? What would you do if you were armed with a community of ambassadors to back your effort?

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