Launching a brand ambassador program is a massive step toward building brand awareness, but it takes a careful approach to plan campaigns that actually move the needle on sales.
Social media and organized pop-up events are some of the typical ways to get your brand out there. But as you know, simply doing what everyone else is doing won’t produce the results you’re looking for.
Few things are more disappointing for field marketing managers than planning a major event stocked with samples and merch only to have dismal attendance. Or, just as painful, trying to revamp a dormant social media page and getting little reward for all that hard work. Whether you’re starting afresh or looking to re-energize your field marketing program, here are the four best practices for sales-driving brand ambassador teams to ensure that they are having the most impact.
1. Attract More Attention With A Strong Social Media Strategy
A strong social media strategy will do wonders for your brand and increase attendance at your product demonstrations. Even though pop-ups are designed to bring in people who’ve never heard of your product, they also can bring in consumers who’ve seen a post about your product but haven’t tried it before. Expanding your audience is what brand awareness is all about, so take advantage of social media to engage with both old and new customers.
Social media is a great way to generate brand awareness and increase sales in the long run. One of the first steps to improving your brand’s online presence is by having your employees post about your product. Your employees are the people who know your product the best and thus, they make great brand ambassadors. They can accentuate its strengths better than anyone else. Start off by asking your employees to post about your product once a week, and from there, ramp things up during promotions or product releases. This will strengthen your employees’ relationship with your product while simultaneously introducing it to a broader audience.
Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter are great for keeping people connected but are even better for attracting potential new customers to your brand. Another strategy that many brands use is capitalizing on the online presence of grassroots social media brand ambassadors. Encouraging your team to post about your products on their Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts provides you with a trusted voice across multiple social circles. However, looking outside your team can also be beneficial. Adding a couple social media brand ambassadors with well-established social media presences will make your field marketing program much stronger. Ideal candidates are people that are passionate about your product and also have strong followings. Their value is in their ability to reach people who wouldn’t otherwise learn about your product on their own.
2. Learn From Your Brand Ambassadors
Introducing your brand to a community isn’t the easiest thing. Having sample tastings or handing out merch are great ways to start, but it takes more than a great event. Sometimes promotion turnout looks positive while other times you realize, too late, that maybe today wasn’t your day. A simple fix to this field marketing problem is choosing candidates who are seriously involved in their communities because they’ll have a better idea of where and when to host events.
A student center at a larger school may look like a great place to put on an event, but your brand ambassador can probably find an area your company has overlooked, such as a certain entrance to sports games or a high traffic area in a corner of the campus. This example is especially important if your ambassador is a student at the school. They can share the details of the event with the groups they’re involved in and we’re more likely to try new things recommended to us by someone who we have a personal connection with. More involvement will also increase meaningful attendance at your events. Meaningful attendance includes people learning about and trying your product.
Choosing someone that is well immersed in the culture of their community will definitely open up new opportunities not only because they know more people, but because they will have a better gauge on what types of marketing will suit your brand for their particular population.
3. Use Data to Plan Campaigns and Communicate More Fluidly
The best way to examine the success of your brand ambassador program is by using data to enhance your strategy. Keeping track of how field activities are impacting business is important to analyze brand ambassadors’ influence. Adopting a data-driven approach can help brand ambassadors stay on task towards both their own personal goals and the goals of your team as a whole. They can see how their performance is affecting your bottom line which can motivate them to give you their best work. Utilizing real-time data feedback increases the efficiency of your business.
For example, keeping close track of how much inventory ambassadors dispense at events, customer feedback from samples, and reasons, why customers are or are not looking to purchase your product, are all important metrics to monitor. A data-driven approach also leads to more communication by providing a platform to talk about how your team’s performance is positively affecting the business while also allowing for acknowledgment of where they still have room for improvement. Leverage technology to manage data, communication, and analytics by enlisting the help of programs and applications designed specifically for field teams. Encourage representatives to send each other (and you) pictures of shelving arrangements or promotion event designs. Bouncing ideas off each other is great for improving team chemistry and discovering best practices. Identifying what works and what doesn’t will lead to your business becoming more efficient.
4. Encourage Your Brand Ambassadors to Express Themselves
Having a set of goals and standards for your ambassadors will be the basis of your program, but to set your program apart from others, challenge your brand representatives to bring their own ideas to the table. Paying brand ambassadors is a good idea, but not every company can afford to do so. Moreover, even though everyone loves getting paid, extrinsic motivation always comes second to intrinsic. Encouraging ambassadors to develop their own marketing ideas is a way to keep them more involved in the process and let them explore other avenues that can reap benefits for your business. This expression can come in different ways.
Athleisure brand Lululemon executed freedom of expression by allowing their ambassadors to host free yoga classes in their local communities. Brand ambassadors from Bud Light were allowed to pick the bars and nights they’d like to promote, so they could participate in nights out with their friends while spreading awareness about the company. Similarly, Red Bull encourages their representatives to bring the product with them on any adventures that could be considered extreme and active because this is the image they want customers to associate their brand with. Providing your ambassadors with a sense of ownership is crucial to influencing the success of your brand ambassador program.
Ultimately, adding these four practices to your existing brand ambassador program or establishing them as guidelines for a new initiative will help your brand reach new heights. Getting the best out of a strong team will not only lead to growth in your consumer base, but also to stronger candidates applying year after year.
Colin Chiakpo is a Content Marketing Intern at Repsly and currently stuides Behavioral Economics Boston University. When he's not writing articles on marketing or learning more about more about brand building, Colin can be found at the movies or playing pickup basketball.