Turning Loyal Customers into Brand Ambassadors

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Gaining loyal customers is just the first step in an effective growth strategy. For many companies, the hunt is on for individuals who are so taken by their products or services that they are willing to serve as brand ambassadors for that business. Such individuals can have a dramatic effect on how a business is perceived, and on its efforts to boost brand awareness and spread the word about its offerings to an ever-widening target audience.

Do you know of customers who might be happy to contribute time and effort to becoming brand ambassadors for your business? Here are tips to keep in mind:

Earn trust, loyalty, and a willingness to evangelise on your behalf.

These days, it’s not always enough to create and distribute a superior product. Sales should be accompanied by outstanding customer service and support—or you could risk losing business to a competitor who has similar offerings.

That’s because, for many customers, “the thrill of a new purchase rarely lasts long,” AllBusiness notes. “What stays with the buyer way beyond the purchase is the way you make customers feel.

Quality products and services are just the starting point. The true differentiator is a company’s interest in maintaining a positive relationship with their customers—a relationship that serves as the foundation for budding brand ambassadors.

Identify your biggest fans.

If you’re not aware of who your “superfans” might be, it’s time to take a closer look at social media conversations that touch on your brand. Who’s talking about your company on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites? What about highly positive mentions in blogs and other web content? Among your own social media followers, there may be individuals who consistently praise your company—and are therefore eligible candidates for becoming brand ambassadors.

You can also reach out via customer surveys and recommendations from your sales team and others in the organisation. They’re likely to have people in mind who have expressed great appreciation for what your company does.

Reward customers who become brand ambassadors.

Once you’ve identified likely candidates, make contact with these individuals and start the process of building a brand ambassador. Always remember, there should be something in it for them—not just promoting your brand.

Offer attractive incentives that heighten enthusiasm for participating in promotional efforts. Invite brand ambassadors to test-drive a new product, have lunch with the CEO, or take a tour of your facility. Other incentives can “range from membership programs to discount pricing to referral programs,” notes Nextiva. The goal is “finding a strategy that works for your business and that excites your customers.”

Offer resources to help spread the word.

Fervent brand ambassadors deserve all the support you can provide. Invite them to post testimonials on their social media platforms or to blog about a favourable experience with your business. Offer product samples for them to review and then write about. Is it feasible to post photographs of them using your product or service?

Another winning approach is sharing fresh content you’ve generated for your own marketing purposes (articles, infographics, blog posts, etc.). If this content resonates with your selected brand ambassadors, encourage them to share it with their own followers—thus, exponentially growing the potential audience for your business.

Communicate on a personal level.

You may already be sending a regular email newsletter or some other form of communication out to customers. With brand ambassadors, consider raising this to the next level. After all, these are individuals who are going out of their way on your behalf. Look into sending personalised messages from the CEO or business owner, or offering a sneak look at changes in your marketing strategy. Let these prized customers feel involved.

Want to learn more about how to effectively build your brand? Check out our free TAB Boss Webinar, “Discover the Power of Branding.

Written by The Alternative Board Worldwide

 

 

Organisational Culture : Have You Got it Right?

 

Having worked in the theme park industry for the last 15 years, I really learnt the importance of workplace culture and how, if treated right, it can be the key driver for everything else in the business.  Businesses exist to make a profit, but they can take a variety of routes to get there.  When thinking about what route to take there is a great saying to consider “how can you expect your customers to love your company if your staff don’t love it first?”.

Think of workplace culture as a motor vehicle.  A vehicle is simply a means of getting somewhere.  The driver can take passengers and together they can enjoy the journey as they head towards a destination.  There will be compliance issues (registration, wof’s, police checks), obstacles (road works, slips), difficult decisions around what direction to take (depends on the destination!) and so on, but they navigate and negotiate these together to stay on track.  A vehicle carries people, but when you think about it, so does organisational culture.

Using this analogy in a business sense, the destination is equivalent to the vision of the company (where you’d like to end up), the vehicle is the means of getting there or the strategic plan, the driver is the leader (business owner or CEO) alongside other front seat passengers (senior leadership team).  The other passengers in the car represent the engaged employees.

The feeling in the car or the way people are singing along to the music represents the strategic alignment of the team, all singing off the same song sheet.  The group of people left behind or getting out of the car are the disengaged employees.

It is often said that ‘Culture is King’.  The staff culture will set the platform for the customer experience, so the question needs to be asked ‘have we done everything we can from an organisational perspective to provide the framework, foundation and culture for our staff to excel?’

I learnt very quickly that the way you treat your people, particularly when in a leadership position, will either positively or negatively fuel an organisational culture.  The leadership style will influence the way others in the company express themselves and whatever those behaviours are, whether positive of negative, will eventually become normalised behaviours through the organisation.

Get the organisational culture right and everything else will follow.

Chris Deere – The Alternative Board Auckland South

 
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