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How to Make Brand Champions How many times has an existing customers asked you if you also do this or that? Your employees – how many of them understand your brand? Take a good look at all of your stake holders, do they have a good understanding of what your brand stands for? Chances are there is a mixed bag of understanding about your brand from your stake holders. Brand Champions are advocates who promote and or refer your business to others. They are passionate about your brand and are active in your promotion. Many times even brand champions don’t have a clear understanding of what you do. So – here’s your chance to strengthen existing brand champions and empower others who could potentially become Brand Champions for your company. Lets tackle each of the stakeholder groups to shore up support for the team: Employees: • develop brand training that exposes the employee to the brand’s core capabilities • give the employee a brand statement that they can use to properly explain the brand promise or key positioning strategy • provide employees with apparel festooned with the brand logo and/or positioning statement • be sure that they are aware of the company’s proud history • develop a model where an employee has input on possible opportunities • make available educational opportunities that can help employees make your product offering or service better • make it possible for employees to belong to influential community groups • for employees that have direct customer contact, be sure that they exhibit traits complementary to the brand personality and values • help employees understand that a properly managed brand will benefit their incomes into the future Suppliers: • make sure suppliers know where they stand in the food chain of your brand • let them know what is expected of them and how that impacts the growth of your brand • be sure that they understand the culture of your company • provide suppliers with apparel festooned with the brand logo and/or positioning statement • be sure that policies regarding gifts or favors compliment brand values Customers: • provide them the opportunity to tell your story • referral programs to reward their enthusiasm for your brand • regularly survey them to be sure that you are exceeding their expectations • make it a brand policy to go above and beyond what is expected • get bodies in front of customers, don’t reply to heavily on email • look for ways of enhancing the relationship with customers (track their personal and professional motivations ) • provide customers with apparel festooned with the brand logo and/or positioning statement • record testimonials from customer advocates, (don’t pay for these statements) • quickly address problems and issues with professionalism • nurture loyalty among customers by building relationships from sales transactions • keep customers on top of changes and improvements to the brand Management/Share Holders: • be sure that everyone is singing from the same song sheet • provide Management/Share Holders with apparel festooned with the brand logo and/or positioning statement • be sure that this group understands and are loyal to the brand values and personality • with every decision that effects the brand, be sure that the information flows down efficiently to the other stake holders • be aware of executive decisions that could conflict with the brand • audit your brand from time to time to be sure that the brand is not wavering in its focus • be aware that the leaders of the brand impact it directly – implementing change should always compliment brand legacy At the end of the day, Brand Champions will deliver a winning game plan. Branding is a team sport in the strictest sense of the word. If you have a tendency to go it alone, you might find that your brand is stagnant. Your best chance at winning is when you allow stake holders to become part of the branding team. TOGETHER, YOU COULD BE A LEADER IN YOUR CATEGORY! The Brand Champion During the lecture, you learned about corporate image, branding, and brand promises. You also learned that brand champions help reinforce the corporate image of a company. Directions: In your assigned group, you are to develop a visual representation of the “brand champion” for one of the following groups: Employee at a fast food restaurant Employee at a clothing store Employee at a cell phone store Employee at a grocery store Employee at an after-school care center Employee at a movie theatre Receptionist an a office Trace a member of your group on the paper provided. Then dress and accessorize your Brand Champion in such a way that represents the corporate image and brand promise. Think about the expectations for the employee. What is expected of that person? How do they treat customers? How do they influence customers to come back? Represent these things on your Brand Champion. Include at least 6 characteristics (NUMBER!) that reinforce the corporate image. ** Brand champions are internal and external story tellers who spread the brand vision, brand values and cultivate the brand in an organization. Every organization needs committed and passionate brand champions. The more employees the organization can turn into brand champions, the better will it be equipped to build and maintain strong brand equity. Singapore Airlines, L’Oreal, Harley Davidson, Nike, Google and LEGO are well-known examples of companies which benefit tremendously from their employees being strong and dedicated brand champions.
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