Understanding Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors represent organizations by sharing information about the organization and its’ products or services that informs or motivates customers. Most employees are brand ambassadors. Their effectiveness as brand ambassadors depends upon various factors including the organization. Many organizations fail to realize the asset their employees are in this context and opportunities to strengthen brands and engage employees are missed.
Employees interact with customers, potential customers and others who share information via word of mouth both in person and online. Consumers often seek information from their networks prior to purchasing a product or service. According to McKinsey & Company, “word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.” Organizations are beginning to recognize employees and supporters as brand ambassadors and position themselves to engage employees and gain competitive advantage given the value of recommendations and the reach of social media.
Brand Ambassadors Add Value
Loyal, engaged brand ambassadors can contribute to an organization’s stability, growth and longevity by serving as an additional channel of communication; strengthening relationships; establishing new relationships; preventing the loss of customers; and by saving time and money.
Serving as an additional channel of communication
Brand ambassadors tell an organization’s story through their daily interactions with customers, potential customers and with their family and friends. Seemingly simple, casual conversations can impact organizations. Employees are more likely to share information with others if they are excited about a new product, program or activity. This often this involves sharing details using social media which spreads information quickly and broadly. In this context, brand ambassadors serve as additional channels of communication by supplementing the how the organization typically shares information.
Brand ambassadors are ideally positioned to strengthen relationships. Brand ambassadors are well positioned to cultivate and enrich relationships by sharing current information about the organization’s products or services. Customers tend to trust brand ambassadors when they are reliable and communicate valuable information consistently. Customers want to be connected to organizations in ways in which they not only receive value but also in ways in which they feel valued. Brand ambassadors can be a source of value for both customers and organizations by consistently exceeding customer expectations.
Establishing new relationships
Effective brand ambassadors tend to have advanced communication and interpersonal skills. Brand ambassadors are likely to be outgoing and have fairly strong and often robust networks of family, friends, contacts and acquaintances. They have a tendency to seize opportunities to establish new relationships with others. This can benefit customers, potential customers, organizations and others along the value chain. Everyone benefits from new interest in the organization’s products or services because it increases the potential for stability and growth.
Preventing the loss of customers
Mistakes and miscommunication happen. Organizations may need to share information quickly with customers and the public. Organizations can provide customers with current information and news quickly by asking brand ambassadors to share information with their customer contacts and networks. We’re all too familiar with the tendency to create information in the absence of facts. Organizations can prevent the loss of customers by sharing information with employees who are directly connected with customers.
Saving time and money
Organizations save time and money by having brand ambassadors directly connected with customers. They are positioned to share information quickly and often in formats preferred by the customer. This can improve the flow of information and increase the potential for receptiveness while continuing to strengthen relationships. Brand ambassadors can collect information from customers and supplement the organization’s efforts to collect feedback. This type of feedback has the potential to impact decision making and ultimately product and service lines.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Brand Ambassador Programs
Organizations can use a variety of metrics to measure the effectiveness of brand ambassador programs. How brand ambassadors impact organizational strategy can be measured with employee engagement, customer and revenue metrics including:
Engaged employees tend to:
• be more productive;
• be loyal to the organization;
• focus on quality;
• be proud of their work and organization; and
• positively promote the organization.
Customers can receive value from:
• better service;
• increased communication;
• new or improved products or services;
• improved understanding of product/service features and benefits; and
• opportunities to provide input into product and service upgrades.
Revenue (and Cost Savings)
Organizations can receive value through:
• more content employees (decreased turnover);
• more productive employees;
• improved quality;
• increased customer input;
• increased employee and customer satisfaction and loyalty;
• repeat purchases; and
Effective Brand Ambassadorship Can Be Good for Your Career
An organization’s board, leadership, management and staff can benefit from brand ambassadorship. For professionals, being a brand ambassador for your organization can result in many benefits for your organization but it can also benefit you—you can be proactively participating in your professional development; enhancing your communications skills; growing your network and distinguishing yourself from your peers. You are also positioning yourself as a leader and valued employee.
You should recognize your ability to transfer your understanding and techniques to other environments and situations once you realize that you are an effective brand ambassador. Whether you are an employee, volunteer, community or church member your awareness of the value in proactively communicating on behalf of others can positively impact your career or job prospects. Being a brand ambassador can have several benefits. As an effective brand ambassador you can:
• Be an obvious choice for opportunities or greater responsibilities;
• Be a resource for management by being a source of market information;
• Train or mentor others; or
• Communicate how your serving in this role adds value to your organization and how you can add value from day one for another employer.
By serving as a brand ambassador you are adding value. For job seekers the ability to articulate this and provide examples exposes potential employers to the unique way in which you add value and contribute to your organization’s success. Leveraging the value of brand ambassadors as a means of competitive advantage is becoming more common. How will you use this information to engage your employees, improve customer service and revenue or grow professionally? Contact me today to learn more at Tuesday@TuesdayStrong.com.
This version was created as part of the “Tuesday Tips on Careers” Series on the Official IU Alumni Association LinkedIn Group.
If you found this information useful, download a free e-copy of “Own It! Take Charge of Your Career” and discover additional ways in which you can maximize the value you add. Check out the slidedoc for a quick preview.
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