To win, you must train your brand ambassadors and your client
By Ted Wright February 9, 2009
We’ve found that the key to a strong brand ambassador program is extensive training of both the brand ambassadors and the client. Yes, you read that right – the brand ambassadors AND the client. Great brand ambassador programs start with staffing. Brand ambassadors must have three qualities in order to be great at their task:
· They must like to try new things.
· They have a natural curiosity about them.
· They must enjoy sharing stories with others and they must be intrinsically motivated to do the work.
After those hurdles are cleared you can start sorting by whatever demographic characteristics you and your client deem necessary. For more on our thoughts and methodologies on how to hire the right people, check out our blog post covering that topic specifically.As for training our clients, we have three thoughts they must understand:
1. You can not control the message.
2. It’s the conversation that counts – not the hoopla.
3. Training of brand ambassadors is paramount.
“You can not CONTROL the message”
In the age of broadband ubiquity, wireless devices and Google, brands no longer have the ability to “control” their corporate message. What brands can do is work to shape their conversations with consumers. Brands are better off focusing on efforts that can be controlled – like numbers of conversations occurring. Here’s a fact: Our research shows that 15% of all conversations in North America are about a branded product or service
It’s the conversation that counts not the hoopla”
The band, the invites, the food, the Bollywood starlet arriving – all of it is just a precursor to the only profit making activity at any event: the opportunity for fans of your brand to have conversations with interested consumers. Focusing your efforts on the conversation and not the hoopla drives sales.
“Training of brand ambassadors is paramount”
For every one minute of quality conversation a brand ambassador with a consumer, they spend five hours in training. We don’t do half day training sessions. There isn’t a brand on the planet that can be taught in a half day. Ambassadors the details of the product but you have to practice story telling techniques, role play and create opportunities for your brand ambassadors to make your client’s brand story their own by tying their own experiences into your story. A typical brand ambassador training program at our company lasts two and a half days. Executing a good brand ambassador program is a lot more work than just calling a staffing company, looking at some head shots and conducting a training session for a couple of hours. It’s an investment of precious time and money but it is the most effective way to grow brands.