Whether satisfied customers or employees, a brand’s ambassadors are the most valuable defenders of its reputation. As has already been endorsed in numerous studies, their credibility is much higher than that of the messages issued by the company itself. The horizontal communication they can establish with customers (actual or potential) makes them influential prescribers of the company. However, almost every company that implements one of these programs has the unfinished business of rewarding brand ambassadors.
It seems sensible that if it is estimated that the message issued collectively by the ambassadors of a brand is as efficient or more efficient than a campaign in the conventional media, at least part of the budget that would have been allocated to such media reverts to the benefit of a program that allows coordinating, evaluating, promoting and –in some way- rewarding the activity of the ambassadors. Let’s look at this problem from different perspectives :
Spontaneous Ambassadors: These are the clients or workers of a company who, on their initiative and driven by their identification with the product, values , or attributes of a brand, decide to make positive mentions of it on social networks, acting as prescribers of the same, resolving doubts to other users or clients, defending it in the face of eventual reputation crises, etc. It is the most genuine case of what has been called ‘evangelization’ in favor of a commercial brand. The individuals who describe this type of behavior do not expect to receive anything in return, since their counterpart is the satisfaction they feel for the product or service they are talking about and the reward of their vanity by becoming a referent of said product or service before them. Third parties.
However, there are many ways a company can reward brand ambassadors. The key to this ‘retribution’ (if we can call it) is that it must be done in a way that does not become an obligation, nor does it pervert the disinterested behavior of the ambassadors. The relationship between a brand and its ambassadors should not be based on the principle of ‘Do ut des.’ Still, at the same time, it should point out to the latter that the brand is aware of their effort, appreciates it, and rewards it unsystematically. of small courtesies that allow the ambassadors to feel appreciated. Like so many other relationships based on affection and mutual trust, a gift from time to time will be a beautiful gesture. Still, this practice should not be abused to avoid the relationship being based on skills or that the eventual absence of the same causes disappointment or dissatisfaction.
Some ideas to reward spontaneous ambassadors could be:
All these actions, and many other similar ones that can occur, require a minimum budget and allow the ambassador to know that the brand is aware of their effort and values it. In addition, we must not forget one last positive effect: reward actions of this type will probably be disseminated through the beneficiary’s social networks, which will benefit the company’s image.
Teams of Ambassadors Articulated From The Companies: These are, in general, workers of a firm who are especially active on social networks and who, for reasons identical to those of the spontaneous ambassadors, agree to become part of an organized group that behaves in general terms like the previous group of ambassadors, but under the tutelage of the company’s communication department.
This type of ambassador is, if possible, more effective than the first one because although the power of their message is the same, their collective action allows the intensity, tone, and frequency of their messages to be modulated in a certain way. Such a team should never become a mere speaker of ‘his master’s voice’ (which would go against the basic definition of a brand ambassador). Still, suppose the communication department manages to establish a line of good collaboration with its members. In that case, it will ensure optimum capillarization of its messages and the best early reaction team in the event of a possible reputation crisis.
Any of the proposals in the previous point would work to reward brand ambassadors, but since they are company employees. With the permission of human resources policies, some of the following practices could be added:
The availability of a motivated, trained and organized team of ambassadors is an asset that is difficult to achieve. It must be valued and taken care of in its proper measure. Large companies have been dedicating an increasing part of their promotional budgets to this type of strategy for some time now. Accepting that brands are talked about on the internet, particularly on social networks, monitoring and intervening in these conversations is vital to act on corporate online reputation and reward brand ambassadors for their work. It becomes a valuable catalyst for the success of the project.
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