First impressions are critical. Companies often utilize event marketing to make big splashes in their target markets when they roll out new products. In order to pull off these campaigns in an efficient and timely fashion, they’ll hire a group of remote brand ambassadors to represent the brand, engage with their audience, and introduce their new products.
In my company’s experience, 90 percent of an event’s success can be attributed to brand ambassadors, and the remaining 10 percent can be credited to the brand or product selling itself. It’s key to ensure that your ambassadors make the right first impressions on buyers and solidify your footing inside their minds.
But, as anyone who has ever dealt with remote staffing knows, keeping these folks both engaged and informed is much easier said than done.
It Takes More Than Warm Bodies
When building rosters of brand ambassadors, too many companies engage in what I like to call “warm body hiring.” A company will send out a mass email with a vague description of the event, the work hours, the pay rate, and a phone number to call for more information.
Any respondent can get hired on the spot. Once the event rolls around, sometimes they’ll show up, sometimes they won’t. Sometimes they do a great job, but most of the time they don’t.
The “warm body hiring” approach doesn’t provide ambassadors with nearly enough information about the brand and its values. At the event, a lack of knowledge and enthusiasm will frustrate and turn off consumers. Best case scenario: Attendees walk away with a bad taste in their mouths, vow to never buy a single product from that brand, and move on with their lives. Worst: They document their experience on the internet for the entire world to gawk at.
Digital rants come in many forms, but they do serious brand damage no matter the medium. Research shows that just one negative article on the first page of a Google search can cause companies to lose 22 percent of their potential customers.
If four negative articles pop up, it’s lights out. The number of lost potential clients grows to a whopping 70 percent.
Building the Right Roster
Before your brand ambassadors even have a chance to make a first impression on your audience, you need to make a great one on them during the hiring and training process. Instill the right amount of knowledge, enthusiasm, and passion in your remote brand ambassadors from the get-go:
- Outline the Specifics. When crafting your “help wanted” ad, glossing over the details of the event might result in more applicants — but they won’t be high-quality applicants. Dive deep and be specific: What does the perfect candidate for this program look like, and what exactly do you expect from him or her?
Clearly lay out the parameters, and consider providing a list of questions specific to the program for applicants to answer (and maybe include a few creative ones about themselves, too).
It’s crucial to hire people who are self-motivated, responsible, and passionate about the brand they’re promoting. Being specific when describing the job opening is a great way to ensure that the cream of the crop rises to the top of your applicant pool.
- Provide Actual Training. Sending a packet of information to your ambassadors and trusting that they’ll read and comprehend everything before the event is a recipe for disappointment. True engagement requires some level of two-way interaction during training.
Whether in-person, over the phone, or on Skype, have conversations with your ambassadors about your brand’s story, the idea behind your campaign, and why it’s important to your team. Without this knowledge, it’ll be nearly impossible for them to feel emotionally invested in your cause.
Training and knowledge-building is crucial, so take your time. My company has spent more than a month training some ambassadors.
- Do the Little Things. Once you get a great group of ambassadors on board, you need to then focus on keeping them motivated. This is where the little things come into play.
For starters, pay them as close to the conclusion of the event as possible. Don’t let several weeks (or months) pass before you reward them for their hard work. This indicates that you recognize them as vital players and that you take care of your team.
You could also motivate your ambassadors with performance incentives during and after each program. This adds an extra spark to their enthusiasm and a little friendly competition among the team.
You’ve invested in your brand and product; now it’s time to invest in the right people to sell it. Delete that generic email, and start creating processes that cultivate knowledge, enthusiasm, and — most important — results.
Well-trained, well-supported brand ambassadors will make just about any marketing event a success.
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Written by Steve Randazzo.
Steve Randazzo is the founder and president of Pro Motion Inc., an experiential marketing agency located in Missouri. With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Steve has longstanding relationships with big-name clients, including Dr Pepper Snapple Group, The Walt Disney Company, Hewlett-Packard, Duck Brand, Fiskars, Citgo, the NBA, and Tractor Supply Co.