How to use brand ambassadors to grow your digital presence
Depending on the type of business you run, the person you choose to be your brand ambassador could vary hugely. You might choose a famous blogger to sing the praises of your range of accessories or you might choose a racing driver to represent your car care products. Whatever the type of person you choose, they can help you grow your digital presence, make more sales and build your brand but you've got to do it right.
Set your goals
If you want to launch into a new country then you'll want an ambassador to represent you there. If you're launching a brand aimed at a specific demographic, you'll need an ambassador who falls into that group and is a trusted personality within it.
You'll also want to look at budget and return on investment. If you want to reach a new audience of 100,000, you'll need to look at what potential ambassadors can offer and how much it might cost you. You'll also need to think about what you want an ambassador to do, most will come to you with their own ideas but have a clear picture in your head of how you can work together so the partnership is clear from the beginning.
Choose the right person
If you're a little clothing company in Brussels you're probably not going to be able to afford Kim Kardashian as a brand ambassador, because yes, these things do cost. Of course, you could send products out to her in the hope that she falls in love (there is a chance) but the likelihood is that your clothes will just get lost in the hordes of designer wear she gets sent on a daily basis.
Aim for a brand ambassador that shares an audience with you, who can reach the people you'd want to sell to. Go into the first stage of contact with a budget in mind, some people might simply accept free products to give them a mention on a blog or over social media but for more involved ambassadorships, you will have to pay.
Bring your ambassador into the company
Your ambassador should be an extension of the brand, they'll know it inside out, will have met your staff and will enjoy being part of the working family you've built.
Jordan Hosmer, Marketing Director at Goodpeople.com works with a number of brand ambassadors. He said: The ambassadors that offer the most value are those that feel connected and are eager to contribute. We offer the chance for them to participate in brainstorming and voice their opinions. Generally, when they contribute they get more connected and passionate about our brand. We have established requirements for them to post images, but ambassadors who care about our brand don't have to be reminded to share about us, they just want to.”
Racing driver Rebecca Jackson, who is a brand ambassador for Turtle Wax, said: “Despite it being such a large company with a presence all over the world, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of a family affair it still is. I joined the brand and its distributors at Automechnika in Frankfurt and met the daughter of the original founder, they struck me as such a welcoming, friendly group and appeared almost smaller than their global presence would suggest – in a good way. It felt like I’d been welcomed into their family.”
Have a plan
Brand ambassadors can be as involved as you want them to be. Your relationship could be as simple as a few tweets per month in exchange for products or you could be flying your ambassador around the world to represent your brand at events.
To get the most out of this kind of partnership, outline a plan for them so you get the most for your money. You should also ask ambassadors to pitch ways they think would make the relationship more beneficial for everyone.
Think outside the box
Social media content, the odd blog post and lots of great photo and video content are fantastic ways to reach more people through your ambassador's influence. However, it's the truly unique activities that really get people talking.
Hot laps around a race track with the local press, speaking engagements, cookery classes, and road trip challenges can all help to generate a buzz around your business. Play to your ambassador's strengths and contacts too, and perhaps even ask them to come up with a few interesting ideas for events and stunts.
Add value to what your ambassador does
If you can provide something that truly helps your ambassador, they're going to be even better placed to talk about the benefits of what you do.
TV star Denise Welch is a LighterLife Fast ambassador who has found great success with the products. She said: "It is so exciting to be part of a company who have created the very first product for 5:2 to be sold on the British high street! The Fastpacks are so convenient – they take all the hard work out of 5:2 which means no more planning what you are going to eat and no more calorie-counting on your fast days. It is simply a really easy way to make intermittent fasting part of your lifestyle."
If you can find an ambassador who will really benefit from your products, it's going to be natural for them to share what you're doing.
The trick to working with a brand ambassador is to bring them into what you do and treat them as part of your company. If they know the brand inside out, they'll be better placed to promote your products and services.
Jess Shanahan is a marketing professional and motorsport PR working exclusively with professional race team Team HARD. She works closely with the team’s roster of 30 drivers – all potential brand ambassadors – and sponsors to get the most out of each relationship. She can be found tweeting @Jetlbomb.
Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.
There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.
There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.
In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.
Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.
So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?
Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney
While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.
For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.
For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.
Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.
It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.
How do companies support the new customer journey?
More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.
These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.
The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?
For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.
It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.
And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.
It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.
At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.
About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.