Brand ambassadors are a coveted prize in the world of business, helping you level up from a money-making enterprise into a fully fledged brand. They are, however, as elusive as they are valuable.
Strictly speaking, a brand ambassador is typically someone hired by a business or organisation to positively represent the brand, grow awareness and drive conversions (whatever they may constitute for your brand). With a sufficiently engaged customer base, though, you can have access to an army of your own brand ambassadors happy to extoll the virtues of your business on a daily basis.
In this post, we’re sharing a six-step process to creating a community of brand ambassadors made up of your customers – helping you harness the raw power of word-of-mouth marketing in the months and years to come.
1. Start with a brand you believe in
The blunt but unavoidable truth is that it isn’t reasonable to expect other people to invest in your brand if you yourself don’t possess the same passion you’re asking of them. If your business is already established, we hope the groundwork has already been well and truly laid for this step – but if not, there’s still time to put your finger on just what it is that drives you to make your business a success (besides success itself, of course).
Did you launch your business to solve an age-old problem, fill a frustrating gap in the market or simply bring something new and exciting into the world? Whatever sector you’re in, first clarify in your own mind why exactly you believe in your brand – from there, you’ll know precisely how to convey to your customers why they should share this belief.
2. Spread the gospel
Once you’ve pinned down your business’s reason for being, the next step is to spread the word among your customer base. The nature of the communities you have in the works – from a company blog readership or subscriber list to a social media following or remarketing audience – will dictate how you communicate this key brand messaging, but the important thing is to find a powerful, concise message and the right place to communicate that message.
A customer engagement platform is a highly effective medium for this sort of brand communication, with everything from a brand-centric forum to an on-brand news and resource area available for the purposes of spreading your company gospel.
3. Find kindred spirits
We’ve talked before about the idea of finding your ‘people’ as being central to building a brand. This is probably the most simple, elegant analogy we can come up with for attracting an engaged audience that’s likely to convert. With your message nailed and communicated, it’s now time to actively seek out new recruits for your brand community – and while any business owner would love to believe any consumer could be a potential customer of theirs, the fact of the matter is that your inner circle is highly likely to be somewhat narrower than that.
Whether you use social media, online forums, paid advertising, organic search or more traditional TV, radio or print ads, the task at hand is enticing new customers who have, in some way or another, demonstrated an interest in what you’re offering. At the point that they make a conscious decision to visit your website or make contact as a result of relevant promotional activity on your part, they can be considered to have opted in. Chances are, if they’re interested in your product or service, they’ll share at least some of the opinions, beliefs or values that led you to build your enterprise.
4. Infiltrate their lives
With your ideal customers acquired and brought into the fold, to trigger the transformation from customer to brand ambassador, you’ll need to become a welcome part of their day-to-day lives. With the right promotional toolkit, this is easily done – as long as your messaging remains engaging, on-brand and centred around your shared interests and values.
Whether you make weekly contact with your customer base via enticing push notifications from your dedicated app, highly clickable email marketing campaigns or irresistible Facebook posts, the key is to remain visible, and slowly but surely bridge the gap between being an occasional stop on their travels around the web and a fixed feature of their everyday routine.
5. Treat them right
With your customers’ undivided attention won, the battle for brand ambassadors isn’t over just yet. Demonstrating to your community that your interest in them is more than a flash in the pan is crucial – so keep them on side with plenty of rewards and exclusive perks.
If you’re an ecommerce business, giving loyal customers a heads-up on upcoming sales, sharing limited-time discount codes and offering personal extras like birthday savings are just some of the potential perks you can offer to your community. For companies or organisations who regularly hold events, options include VIP experiences, priority access and exclusive discounts – all of which will show your inner circle their continued support doesn’t go unnoticed.
6. Stay relevant
With a thriving community of brand ambassadors in the making, the last step in this all-important process is committing to constant innovation – a big ask, we know. Consumer expectations have never been higher than they are now, and today’s customers are on the hunt for brands who pride themselves on continually changing with the times, improving on their customer service and evolving their product or service offering.
To nurture brand ambassadors within your customer base, who will happily spread word of your brand to anyone who will listen, make a promise to yourself and your customers to constantly strive to find new ways of being better. If you’re wondering where to start, the Six Circles customer engagement platform is the perfect jumping off point.