Do you have brand ambassadors?

The internet has changed so much about we used to think of as simple advertising. Giving individual customers a voice, whether to praise, criticize or just talk about your product has provided unprecedented power and to some extent, great economic influence over your future. Brands used to just rely on celebrities for promotion and testimonials. But those kinds of efforts were always out of the reach of small businesses, except when a famous face walked into your establishment and courteously consented to a photograph with you or your product.

So what do you do while you wait to have your enterprise discovered by a prominent idol of popular culture? Here are a couple of good options wrapped up in the new clothing of modern marketing.

Establish a brand ambassador program. This might sound complex, expensive or time consuming but it starts with a business fundamental: Treat your best customers even better and get them to help you sell. Yes, there are new twists that involve harnessing social media, loyalty programs built in to your POS cloud software or making it easy for your best fans to record YouTube videos demonstrating your products to the world. But it all gets back to simply knowing who your best customers are, cultivating relationships that deepen the connection and asking for help promoting your brand. Here’s another article that shines a light on part of the process.

Not convinced? Ask yourself this. When you shop for a product online, do you rely more on the claims and descriptions in the ad copy or would you find a testimonial or description from a verifiable customer to be more compelling. That’s why companies are putting efforts into cultivating brand ambassadors.

The other often overlooked approach is to cultivate ambassadors from a group that should be (better be) an equally powerful corps of adoring fans – your employees. If this isn’t easy, you might need a cultural overhaul before you work on your marketing. But here is a description of the steps to jump start your effort.

All of these efforts should be common sense, but the truth is that business success is about executing a thousand little details better than your competition.

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