Your biggest fans drive brand loyalty
What are brand ambassadors and why do they matter?
What’s the magic formula that makes us loyal to a particular brand? Loyalty programmes certainly help but it takes more than a standard scheme to inspire long-term devotion. Enter the brand ambassador.
According to The Deloitte Consumer Review, the biggest drivers of loyalty are: good value for money (64%), trust (52%), offering quality products/services (50%), and great customer service (41%).
The key word here is ‘trust’. Good brand ambassadors represent your brand, and communicate all of the above to your customers using an enticing, human tone of voice.
They’re seen as reliable sources of information and opinion. And that makes them great at nurturing relationships and building the all-important customer experience. We’re more likely to take action based on reviews and recommendations from people we know or at least feel like we understand.
But what makes a good brand ambassador? Exactly what can they achieve?
A good brand ambassador is your biggest fan.
A brand ambassador does more than just communicate facts, figures and snappy advertising headlines.
They genuinely love your brand, what you stand for, and the products and services you offer. Most importantly, they want to share their thoughts with other people.
So they’re more than happy to spread the word about your company and how it’s impacted their lives, whether online or through word of mouth.
Brand ambassadors can be a free and highly effective form of PR.
A survey conducted by Podium found that online reviews influence purchasing decisions for 93% of consumers. It’s clear that existing customers can play a vital role in boosting customer relationships and driving sales.
Who can be a brand ambassador?
Me. You. The person sitting next to you on the train. Any one of us can be a brand ambassador. As long as a person loves your company and products, they’re good to go.
But, as BikeBiz points out, their love has to be genuine. That’s why it’s vital to keep nurturing relationships with repeat customers who are active on social media. You can turn them into your biggest brand ambassadors with simple offers, specials and deals. The important thing is to get them talking. And keep them talking.
CEO of Podium, Eric Rea, explained to The Drum: “Any business owner knows that your most authentic and impactful advocate is a happy customer, and technology has made every customer’s voice extremely powerful.
“Our data shows just how much consumers trust each other and therefore, how much these advocates can drive purchase decisions and grow brand recognition through online reviews.”
Brand ambassadors are right under your nose.
Look within your own company. Employees often make the best brand ambassadors for one simple reason: they live and breathe your brand.
Engaged employees understand the company’s goals as well as the customer base, as Loyalty 360 discusses. Their engagement with the business can directly affect customer experience, brand image and loyalty. Invest in your company culture and reap the many rewards of engaged employees.
Create more meaningful connections.
Just a few years ago, celebrities were the biggest brand ambassadors. But times have changed and so have expectations. Consumers now look for more authentic, meaningful connections with brands.
86% of consumers told Stackla that authenticity was an important factor in their brand decisions.
While celebrities may have big fan bases, they don’t necessarily make great ambassadors. Consumers are wise to insincere promotion. A celebrity who doesn’t have a deep and meaningful connection with your brand might not generate the best ROI. If they don’t love or believe in your products or services, their proclamations may not ring true with customers.
Be part of their lives.
Consumers have more choice and less patience than ever. If a brand fails to deliver on customer experience, consumers will find another company that does in a matter of minutes. Brands that behave like they’re irreplaceable risk failing to connect with potential customers, and losing existing ones to the competition.
In the digital age, experience is quite literally everything. Brand ambassadors have never been so important in communicating the life-enhancing power of a positive, meaningful experience. They can help build trust and loyalty, which creates sustainable customer relationships. It may require a rethink from some brands, but those that transform their loyalty strategies see huge benefits.
As Harvard Business Review explains, successful brands are focusing on “positioning their brands in the lives of their customers”, as opposed to the minds of their customers.
Find out how Linney can help you boost customer loyalty.
And look out for news of our next insight event, The Quarry, soon – where we’ll look at how brands can give Power to the People.