When it comes to launching a new or revitalized brand, employee engagement is not just critical, it’s essential to success. It’s the first topic of discussion with our clients when it comes time to introduce a brand to the world. You may be sick of hearing the quote, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” but that doesn’t make it any less true. Educating and inspiring team members at all levels with the new trajectory for the brand makes them advocates for its success. And when it comes to preparing an effective plan for employee engagement, there’s one tactic we’ve seen time and again that helps capture the hearts and minds of internal stakeholders: recruiting, training, and utilizing Brand Ambassadors. Let’s get right into the details.
Who are Brand Ambassadors? What is their role?
A Brand Ambassador is an employee of the organization who will be one of the first to receive comprehensive education and training on the new brand. Equipped with this in-depth knowledge of how the brand came to be, what it represents, and what it means for the future of the business, the Brand Ambassador can champion its relevancy and impact on the lives of employees at all levels. When it comes time for the brand to be launched, Brand Ambassadors are there to share in launch logistics, answer questions of those in their departments, and speak enthusiastically about how everyone can play a role in the brand’s success.
How are Brand Ambassadors recruited?
First, it comes down to a careful process of selection. The goal is to recruit Brand Ambassadors who are deeply rooted and respected within their specific divisions, departments, or functions. They should already have a voice within the employee community and be individuals who people routinely look to for leadership and guidance. It’s also important to select a range of Brand Ambassadors so that as many of those divisions, departments, or functions can be represented as possible. For example, there may be a representative Brand Ambassador within the customer service function as well as one representing the factory-floor production team. Working directly with company leadership, the needs for representation across levels of the organization are typically readily apparent.
What is involved in their training?
Once the right group of team members is selected (and their desire to participate confirmed), Brand Ambassadors are taken on a journey that illustrates for them the intricacies of the brand process completed — from the nature of the original business challenge, through research and brand development, to future plans for implementation. This usually takes place during one or more interactive workshops where participation, engagement, and thought sharing are encouraged.
How else do Brand Ambassadors provide value?
Let’s go back to the training workshops we just talked about. There’s a reason why they’re designed to be highly interactive. Each Brand Ambassador was selected based on experience and representation within a specific area of the business, which means these individuals have intricate knowledge of how their teams operate, what motivates them, and what best gets their attention. Brand Ambassadors play a critical role not only in the execution of a launch plan but also in the planning process itself.
In the end, it can be argued that the biggest benefit of incorporating Brand Ambassadors into an internal brand launch plan is the democratization they represent. The dissemination of information and brand details are no longer purely a top-down exercise. The brand is not owned by executive leadership or corporate marketing, but instead something to be shared at all levels, where Brand Ambassadors have consulted, coordinated, and been trained on behalf of their peers.
So, why are Brand Ambassadors often overlooked?
Perhaps it’s a lack of knowledge of their effectiveness or the inability of internal leaders to assemble a multi-dimensional, well-coordinated launch plan in the first place. To be certain, there is an investment in time, energy, and dollars to accomplish the level of training and coordination that is required to properly equip Brand Ambassadors for their role. Considering the success we’ve seen over nearly 30 years of launching industry-leading brands, we’d argue those investments are far outweighed by the benefits.
If a level of brand transformation and reintroduction is on your horizon, I encourage you to get in touch with us and engage in a conversation about the road ahead and how we can offer support. And be sure to sign up for future B2B Insights from BrandingBusiness as we continue to explore and discuss the successes and pitfalls of launching a brand.