From the choice of restaurant to the online purchase of a book. From the new washing machine to buy to the hotel where to spend the weekend. Online shopping changed the ways of searching for “personal” information. Why? Because using the computer to make purchases makes the experience impersonal, but the search for information, recommendations and suggestions brings everything back to a sharing dimension. This is why it is important to consider programs that enhance (and even give more space to) brand ambassadors.
Social media and reviews websites (such as Tripadvisor) allow us to read and compare thousands of opinions and assessments. The promotion of an online product depends a lot on the word of mouth that is built around the product. How can companies manage and strengthen their online reputation? There are several task to manage and it is crucial to play around a solid and valid program linked to brand ambassadors …. who better than employees and collaborators can tell others about the facts from a personal point of view?
How can brands make their employees of brand ambassadors?
We got four actions to better manage the creation of a plan to promote corporate values, which allows organizations to communicate and involve large groups of people, thanks to an effective program of brand ambassadors.
Define the goals of your Ambassadors
It may seem easy, but it is not at all. As in a good diplomatic strategy in the online market you need to have clear and defined strategy and goals to put in a “brand ambassador plan”.
In many cases there are affiliate programs based exclusively on the economic relationship: every day thousands of influencers share information and images related to brands and companies only according to the economic reward that derives from it. Can we talk about brand ambassador then? No!
Ambassadorial programs must be guided by intrinsic motivations and shared values. People participate in these programs to expand their network, receive recognition and grow both professionally and personally. The motivations that derive from it are much more powerful than the economic ones.
Establish immediately what impact the ambassador should have is the first chance of success of the plan: involvement, engagement and motivation are the elements supporting these objectives. That is the main reason why to use gamification: it is able to enhance intermediate goals, stimulating motivation and strengthening the link between the brand, the ambassadors and the relevant public.
Taking into consideration the personal goals of the ambassadors and drafting different plans is a strategic way to personalize your program.
Find the right ambassadors
Let’s go back to the example of politics: how important is it to give the embassy to the correct person? It has an incalculable value!
The same applies to the choice of brand ambassador programs: find the right people is essential. Companies must ask themselves: “Who is suitable?”
The most successful programs of the brand ambassadors are built by companies that are able to identify the right people within their current user base, offering the most engaged users an official way to be engaged with the brand.
A group of users selected in this way is able to open the way, starting the construction of a robust program.
92% of consumers trust suggestions and recommendations (Source: Nielsen)
In asking “who to select?” Companies can be very confused. A good starting point is to look inside: to its employees and collaborators. If even the employees do not speak it well, who could do it? A serious engagement program can achieve incredible results, giving employees the opportunity to receive incentives and recognition for their support as ambassadors.
In several projects we have created digital tools able to make all this simple, fun and engaging, focusing on the user experience and the dynamics of the game (powered by social media).
Transparency and trust
Building trust and supporting transparency is critical to long-term success. Relationships are the key to success and the relationship is what creates a solid base of brand followers. Ambassadors must feel part of the journey, they must feel that they are collaborating directly with the brand they represent.
An open dialogue between your brand and its influencers helps to build a relationship. Good communication requires feedback and suggestions.
83% of consumers are willing to review a positive experience, but in reality only 29% do it (Source: Texas Tech University)
For many companies, communication takes place in one way; having a two-way communication channel with your ambassadors and customers can help you create a strong sense of belonging. This channel also offers direct feedback and a flow of creative ideas that can bring innovation. What better solution than an effective simple, immediate and updated collaboration tool?
Analyze. Monitor. Correct. Get better.
Without the ability to measure the success of a campaign it is impossible to establish its real commercaiel value. Resources need to be focused on monitoring and evaluating the actions of selected influencers.
You will need a database to store information about ambassadors and a platform for organizing dashboards and conversations. Standard digital tools do not have the ability to monitor progress in a continuous and up-to-date manner. Monitoring a brand ambassador can quickly become a nightmare for the marketing department. Organizations and management need robust analytics and reporting tools to track the progress of ambassadors, while influencers need a simple tool to collaborate and demonstrate that their online business benefits both parties.
Bring this in an application usable by the most common of digital devices, the smartphone, has required commitment, perseverance and intuition, but has allowed us to create a product that can respond to a clear and real need: to give companies the way to create, manage and monitor their online presence, enriching it thanks to the contribution of brand ambassadors.