As you plan to create a brand ambassador program, I’ve mapped out an 8-step approach that you can follow to create a highly engaging program for your customers. Let’s dive into it:
Step 1: Talk to your diehard customers
This gives you an opportunity to find out what your customer hot buttons are and how you can align your program to things your customers care about.
- This is where personal branding, peer networking, and rewards and recognition become paramount.
Step 2: Create exclusivity
Make sure the program is 30-50 members MAX - limiting the size of the program to just 30-50 will create exclusivity.
And the reason why you want exclusivity is because you want to emphasize that becoming a brand ambassador takes commitment, time, and expertise. It's not open to everyone by design.
Step 3: Establish a program charter
You want to think about what criteria you have for selecting members:
- What are some of the benefits?
- What are some of the opportunities for each of the members that get involved?
And it also sets the cadence and outlines what’s planned for the year.
I also think it’s helpful to include criteria for how long the engagement should be - I recommend at least 1 year and refresh it regularly so you can bring in new people and remove customers that may no longer be motivated or it wasn’t a great fit.
Step 4: Shock and awe opportunities
What I mean by shock and awe, is that it all comes down to customer experience.
- How can you surprise and delight these members?
- How can you keep their attention and engagement for an entire year?
Part of that is providing opportunities for them to connect with each other, with product leadership, your executive leadership team like your CMO as well as mentorship opportunities.
And at the end of the day, it’s having fun and pushing the envelope - hosting experiential events like bringing in a mixologist or having a 1-2 day forum that’s completely white glove treatment.
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Step 5: Establish an engagement cadence
How often will the customers be required to connect - Is it monthly? Quarterly? Bi-annually? - What are the time commitments that they should be aware of?
Step 6 Determine communication channels
Will you engage via email, slack, and webinars? And how often?
Step 7: Require online applications to vet candidates
Once you have an established brand ambassador program, you can create an online application process to help you weed through the very best customers that should participate.
This also helps you create a pipeline of future advocates you can use for your other programs like references, peer reviews, or user group meetings.
This also helps you with picking customers based on product expertise and tenure using your solutions, location, and geography. This helps to ensure you apply a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens so you can have a well-rounded group of ambassadors.
The end goal is to be very thoughtful in who you select for your 30-50 customers.
Step 8: Repeat
Repeat the process year after year to refresh the customers participating in the program.
Brand ambassador engagement strategies
Now as you look to provide opportunities for your ambassadors to lean in and engage with your team and the broader company, here are a couple of ways you can think about focusing them on initiatives that will drive the greatest impact.
The first is giving them access to some kind of product sandbox that they can essentially tinker with to create content for you. The sandbox should also include all the latest product enhancements and upgrades so they can really experience the very best of your technology and can help you create content, guides, etc. from there.
In addition, a few engagement opportunities I want to highlight include:
- Hosting quarterly or bi-annual Product Feedback sessions between your ambassadors and your marketing teams to go through the roadmap.
- As part of this you can also host regular CX feedback sessions and perhaps loop in your support, sales, and CS teams to take notes and ask how they can make the buying experience better for these customers.
- You can also present a number of speaking opportunities each quarter and work with your events team to flush these out - everything from user conferences, and webinars to field marketing events.
- It goes without saying but leverage these ambassadors for participation in reference calls, writing a peer review and actively posting tips/tricks content in your community.
- They can also be great resources for event promotion and referring advocates - you can even host fun competitions so they can earn swag for referring future advocates.
- You should also leverage these ambassadors for customer stories and user-generated content to help with product adoption for new customers that are just getting started with your products.
The next steps
This was a little preview into Customer Advocacy Certified which will take you through the foundational skill and knowledge needed to launch and manage customer advocacy programs and excel in your career.
By the end of this course, you'll be able to confidently:
👊 Learn the fundamentals & exact blueprint for creating highly engaging customer advocacy programs.
🔥 Leverage your advocacy toolbox to help you scale and avoid potential pitfalls before launching your programs.
🚀 Understand how to align your customer engagement initiatives to strategic drivers within your organization.
💰 Successfully measure your program ROI to get more budget & headcount.