Brand ambassadors: helping everyone in your company boost your reputation
If you ask virtually anyone who has built a career in marketing and PR, they'll tell you that one of their frustrations is that everyone thinks they can do it.
At some point in our careers, we'll all have heard someone say "I'm not a marketer but..." and then go on to tell us the creative would be better in a different colour, the words aren't right, or similar.
Marketing and PR is a professional occupation. It's not something that anyone can turn their hand to, the same way I can't cover for an accountant or an HR professional.
Having said that though, I do believe that in any organisation everyone is a brand ambassador.
Image by Clem Onojeghuo, Unsplash
What is a brand ambassador?
In recent times some companies have started using this as a fancy term for their affiliate sales people, or those they hire to be social media influencers. I don't mean that here. I mean a much more general group of people. Anyone in your organisation who isn't in a marketing role but who in any way represents your company externally.
What's the difference between a marketer and a brand ambassador?
Any member of staff who engages with people external to your company, regardless of their role, has the ability to impact the perception of the brand. And that influence can be positive or negative.
Brand ambassador best practice
Think about the interactions you have with a company. My parents recently bought a new oven. To do so they spoke to someone in sales first to make the purchase, then someone in operations to arrange the fitting, then the fitter themselves, then someone in customer service to check how to do something, then someone in finance to query something on the bill. In every interaction, they said the staff they spoke to were knowledgeable, helpful and professional. They've come away happy, they're recommending the company to all their friends, and everyone is a winner.
The negative impact of employee behaviour on your brand
Compare that to an experience I had nearly 15 years ago. I went for an interview with a large utility company. I travelled a fair distance for the interview, and it had been a faff to organise because my daughter was very young and my mum had to come to help look after her while I was in the interview.
There was a presentation as well as questions and I thought I'd done a not bad job. Following my presentation, one of the panel asked some valid, but poorly worded, questions about why I had chosen the channels that I had proposed. Fast forward ten minutes and the interviewer was becoming really unpleasant, despite my best attempts to answer the interview questions.
I have never walked out of an interview before. I didn't that day either, but I wish now I had. Having interviewed dozens of people myself now, I look back and see how unprofessional their behaviour was. More than that, it was unkind - and I think that's the bit that rankles most.
And 15 years later I'm still seething about it. I've never given that company a penny, and nor will I. All because one person, not in a marketing role, gave me a very poor impression of the company.
Is that fair? Probably not. Will me not giving them my business cause their downfall? Definitely not. But it's a reminder that all interactions with a brand are human to human.
I could've left that day - still not having got the job, that's not the issue - with a positive impression of the company. All it would've taken is for one person to have lived the brand's values in the course of their role.
Helping others to help you
So, not everyone is a marketer. But everyone in your organisation represents your brand. As marketing professionals, we should do everything to help them be the best ambassador they can be. Train them, provide them with resources, help them understand why this is so important. They're your eyes and ears in the outside world, but they also have a loud hailer, so let's get them shouting about the right things!
If you'd like to run a training session on being a brand ambassador in your organisation, get in touch. I'd love to chat to you about how to help your staff embrace your brand values and bring them to life in everyday interactions.