Quick, when you think of brand ambassadors, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you’re thinking of the people who promote spirits, craft beer and energy drinks through guerrilla sampling, you’re probably not alone. But if you reframe the idea of brand ambassadorship as any member of your organization that has an opportunity to build or extend your brand, then it’s a whole new ball game. And when you consider the main role of a retail associate, it’s to drive brand awareness and create a compelling customer experience, so in a very real sense, you’ve already got a brand ambassadorship program in place. The question is, how to add structure and substance to brand ambassadorship, and make sure that every interaction extends your brand in a meaningful way.
Here are some actionable steps to infuse brand ambassadorship into every aspect of your retail organization or brand.
1/ Start by recruiting and hiring talent with a brand ambassador skill set.
You want people who aren’t just skilled at ringing up sales, but who can impress and delight your customers. The success of all in-store experiences—whether it’s merchandising displays or introducing a new product—is dependent upon the quality of people representing your store or brand.
2/ Establish a company culture
Define what you stand for, so that your employees can embrace your brand and spread the word. When brand ambassadors are passionate and committed to your mission, customers trust and believe in them more. And brand trust has never been more important than it is now. According to 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, the public relations firm reports that “Brands that build trust earn big rewards in purchasing, loyalty, advocacy, defense and communications. When a brand is trusted, buying accelerates (53 percent versus 25 percent).
3/ Give them freedom
Let your mantra be “as much help as needed, and as little as possible.” Give your employees the structure, the guidance and all the tools and resources they need to succeed. Then give them the flexibility and freedom to break away from rigid scripts, and be brand evangelists for you in a way that feels authentic to them.
4/ Educate to Empower
By the time customers walk into your store, the vast majority (87%) have already begun their product search online. The more your sales associates know about your product or service, the more confidence they’ll have as brand ambassadors, and more likely they’ll be able to connect with customers, and create a relationship.
The bottom line is that we’re all brand ambassadors, walking talking signs for our company, product or service. And once you shift your thinking, you’ll start to create a brand experience that’s powerful, compelling and uniquely yours.