By understanding what is motivating our customers and prospects, we can better understand their needs and know how to properly communicate/interact with them. In the case of brand ambassadors, understanding the internal motivations (and emotional triggers behind these motivations) of your most loyal brand advocates is the first step to creating a powerful brand ambassador program that drives results.
Everyone is motivated by some internal drive whether they are a student, teacher, philosopher, thief, soldier, or lover. It is this drive that compels an individual to take a specific action. By understanding what is motivating our customers and prospects, we can better understand their needs and know how to properly communicate/interact with them. In the case of brand ambassadors, understanding the internal motivations (and emotional triggers behind these motivations) of your most loyal brand advocates is the first step to creating a powerful brand ambassador program that drives results.
A well-crafted brand ambassador program is symbiotic with both parties benefiting from it’s existence. Symbiotic relationships are a constant in nature. Take a look at the remora fish. These tiny fish spend their life clinging to sharks (even when it’s not shark week). The remora gets the pleasure of cleaning up the shark’s leftovers and the shark gets a personal detail service. Everyone wins. Need another example? Check out this Schoolhouse Rock-esque video of the symbiotic relationship between a rhino and a tickbird.
This symbiotic relationship carries over into the business world too. In the case of a brand ambassador program, both parties need to be happy and invested in the program in order to receive the greatest benefit. The brand is motivated to provide a strong brand ambassador program because of the benefits they receive from being involved. These benefits include:
- Amplification of messages: More people spreading your messages means that your communications will have a wider reach. This type of amplification is even more important when you consider that people are 90% more likely to trust the brand messages they receive from their friends and family over any other type of brand communication. The challenge is to make sure the messages you share benefit your brand ambassadors too. Pushing out self-promotional content all of the time isn’t going to cut it anymore.
- Increased revenue: Larger reach means more brand exposure to a wider audience thus increasing your potential customer base. In general, the more customers your company has, the more revenue your company can expect. Further, brand ambassadors are more likely to be repeat purchasers with a lifetime value greater than your average consumer. The point being, more engaged brand ambassadors = more revenue for your brand.
- Defensive linemen: When your brand screws up (and, most likely, it will) what’s going to look better to your customer base, an army of lawyers and official statements rushing to your defense or a platoon of loyal customers? Exactly…let your brand ambassadors be your line of defense and watch your positioning in the market be strengthened.
- Dedicated “in-house” focus group: Looking to test a new offering or get feedback on your latest message? Look no further than your brand ambassador group. This group wants your company to succeed. They’re rooting for your brand and will provide honest feedback on whether or not that new product is going to be a huge win or a huge flop.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, there’s a whole host of further benefits that a brand can expect to receive from its brand ambassador program. But what does the brand ambassador get? Why does the brand ambassador take the time out of their busy day to promote a brand on their social platforms? Well lucky for you, SocialToaster scientists have done the research and have compiled a list of key insights into the various internal motivations of the average brand ambassador.
Motivator #1: To Be a Trendsetter
As a brand ambassador, your champions are “in the know” and have first access to primo information. If you launch a new product, your brand ambassadors should know about it first and be the first to share it with their social network. As news-breakers, your brand ambassadors receive a certain level of prestige and awe from their social networks. This in turn translates to an increased level of respect within their social networks and fills the emotional need to be recognized.
Key Takeaway: Provide your brand ambassadors with VIP access to your brand and encourage them to become subject leaders in their social networks.
Motivator #2 : Having a Personal Connection
Great brand ambassadors are forged from fantastic personal interactions with a brand. It’s not the brand itself that brand ambassadors fall in love with, it’s the individuals behind the brand that create an experience that helps a brand ambassador emotionally connect with that brand. It is the cashier that made the checkout process seamless, the customer service rep on the phone that took care of the problem without any pushback or the person behind the counter that includes an extra donut in your baker’s dozen “just because.” It is these personal interactions that drive people to connect with a brand and more importantly, what motivates them to become ambassadors.
Key Takeaway: Put a human face to your brand ambassador program. Share personal details of your copywriters, social media publishers, developers etc. The stronger the emotional connection a brand ambassador feels, the more likely they are to share your messaging.
Motivator #3: The Need To Win
Kick your brand ambassador program up a notch with a public leaderboard (SocialToaster can work with you to get this going.) Brand ambassadors tend to be leaders of their social networks, after all they aren’t afraid to be the first in their group to share your brand news. Tap into this internal drive to be the best with a friendly competition. Let brand ambassadors compete against each other for sharing the most content or bringing in the most referrals. Then publically reward the top performers. This public acknowledgement reinforces the behavior of the winners and gives other brand ambassadors something to strive towards.
Key Takeaway: Introduce some friendly competition into your brand ambassador program and publically reward the top performers.
Motivator #4: Earning Compensation
It doesn’t have to be straight greenbacks, but the expectation of receiving some form of compensation can always be a strong motivator. No one wants to feel taken advantage of and even the most stalwart brand ambassador can feel some sharing fatigue if their actions go unnoticed. The solution: devise an incentive program wherein brand ambassadors can earn rewards on a tiered structure for their actions. If a brand ambassador knows that they will receive a much coveted reward for sharing your message, they’re going to be far more likely to tweet, pin and post your brand’s news.
Key Takeaway: Reward your army of brand ambassadors with discounts, free products, trips and even the standard go-to, cash or gift card.
Motivator #5: Job Opportunity
It’s no secret that employers like to hire people that are already familiar and passionate about their company. To this end, some individuals choose to champion a brand simply so that they can be on the top of the minds of HR people when that new job post is posted. With 53% of recent college graduates either unemployed or underemployed, former students have to get creative to stand out from the masses. If you have a young, vocal army of brand ambassadors chances are good that several of these individuals are sharing your message in hopes of a possible job opportunity.
Key Takeaway: Have a new position your brand is trying to fill? Consider looking to your brand ambassadors first. You might not only find the perfect candidate for the job without having to go through a pricey recruiter, but you’ll also prove through example that being a brand ambassador for your company pays off.
Understanding the different emotional and internal motivations is paramount for insuring a successful brand ambassador program. Hit the right triggers and watch the floodgates open. The more you understand about who your brand ambassadors are and what they want from you, the better you can be at creating a program that makes them want to share your content with the world.