There is nothing better than having people stand up for you and advocate for you in rooms you are not in, especially as a business owner.
That’s where a brand champion comes in as someone who promotes your business to others and helps grow your loyalty base organically.
Let’s take a look at why you need brand champions, how to find them, and how to incorporate them into your marketing strategy.
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What is a Brand Champion?
A brand champion is someone who is responsible for promoting your brand and building support for it internally and/or externally. It is not a formal role and is not limited to one person.
Brand champions can be business owners, brand ambassadors, chief brand officers, employees and customers. A brand champion can be anyone who advocates for your company.
Benefits of Brand Champions
Brand champions do wonders for your public image. They sing the praises of your brand in a way that doesn’t sound like an advertisement. Below are some of the top benefits of working with a Brand Champion.
1. Brand champions promote word of mouth marketing.
Few marketing channels are more effective than word of mouth marketing (WoMM), when people organize themselves to spread the word about a brand or product. This type of marketing is a great way to gain the trust of people who are not already customers.
In fact, 88% people Trust the recommendations of people they know more than any other channel, according to a Nielsen survey.
Behind this traction and publicity are brand champions, so if you want to take advantage of WOMM, take this opportunity to hone in on these individuals.
2. Brand champions save time and resources.
Brand champions generate organic buzz around your business. That’s one less part of your marketing budget that you have to worry about. Sure, you can give them a discount code or referral link, but that’s money compared to advertising expenses.
3. Any brand can be a champion.
Depending on the size of your business, you may have one or several champions. Sometimes, that role is embedded in your staff responsibilities.
For example, an employer brand specialist is responsible for promoting the company culture and benefits to external candidates. This is a brand champion of sorts in itself, as their role is centered around promoting your brand.
In a small company, the business owner may be the brand champion, motivating employees internally and networking externally to gain more customers.
You can say the same for brand ambassadors who partner with businesses to promote them and generate leads. However, there is a contractual obligation for ambassadors to promote your brand. Champions can be encouraged to do so, but they are not required to celebrate your brand.
The point is that any brand can be a champion, and the more champions your brand has, the stronger it is.
Common Types of Brand Champions
A brand champion is not someone you have to find or recruit. Many times, your best brand champions already play another role in your business. Below, let’s take a look at the most common types of brand champions so you know who to look for.
Start looking internally for brand champions. Employees can be your brand’s biggest fans, but only if they are happy and engaged.
studies show How businesses treat their employees plays a big role in how trustworthy they seem. Especially in times of crisis, consumers look to see how brands conduct themselves.
To create brand champions out of your employees, start by focusing on employer branding. employer branding Marketing is a form of marketing in which the target audience is candidates interested in joining your company.
While the primary focus is on recruiting talent, employer branding can create a very positive perception of your brand for consumers as a secondary result.
We mentioned how important employees are when building brand trust. If consumers perceive that you mistreat your employees or take advantage of people, it can tarnish your brand image.
Internally, your employer branding specialist develops strategies to showcase your internal brand champion. They can highlight exceptional employees and pass the mic to them so they can share their experiences with potential candidates.
At HubSpot, we have @hubspotlife On Instagram, where we post employee takeovers, our Culture Code and more.
This channel is an opportunity for our employees to tell the world why they love working at HubSpot and share their personal experiences.
Your customers can be your biggest advocates of your brand. Think about it: Your customers already know what your brand stands for, what it offers and how it treats its customers.
If they have a positive experience with all of the above, they are more likely to champion your brand.
When customers organically advocate for your brand, it’s a powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, 55% of consumers learn about a product through word of mouthWhich goes to show how a simple recommendation or testimonial can make an impact.
To help boost your brand’s WOMM, nurture your customer relationships to ensure they continue to have positive experiences with your brand and will be more likely to spread the word.
If you’re running a campaign and want to include testimonials, reach out to your top supporters and ask them to participate.
You can reuse those same testimonials for your website, landing page, and more.
Another way to amplify the voice of your champions is by providing them with custom referral codes.
When your champion tells someone about your brand, they and the recipient get a discount on their next purchase. And you get a new customer – it’s a win-win.
social media followers
Think of your social media followers as brand champions in training. They already love your brand — that’s why they’re following you.
The more you nurture your relationship with them and build a community, the more loyal they’ll become. Eventually, they will become brand champions.
Positive social media content around your brand serves as a useful case study. Social proof is a way to gain trust From consumers who are unsure about your brand, whether they’re considering a purchase or following you on Instagram.
Pay attention to the people who are advocating for your brand on social media and find ways to connect with them even further.
there are countless ways to Engage your community on social mediaInvolved:
- Reply to comments.
- Create a private group
- Creating polls and surveys.
- Conducting question and answer.
- Going live with my followers.
- Reposting User-Generated Content.
What You Need Before Creating Brand Champions
Before you can start taking advantage of Brand Champion for your business, there are a few prerequisites. With these prerequisites, you’ll have an even greater chance of seeing success with your brand champion marketing.
Clear vision, mission and values
As with any marketing initiative, a deep understanding of your brand’s vision, mission and values is critical.
These branding essentials will help guide everything you do, from selecting the right brand champions to relaying the message you want to share about your business.
If you’re unclear about what your mission is or what values your brand stands for, your customers or employees will be too.
sense of emotion
Whether you want to turn current employees or customers into your brand champions, you must first understand how these individuals feel about your brand.
If you want to build brand champions internally, start by building regular employees net Promoter Score (ENPS) Survey. This will tell you how satisfied your employees are and how you can better support them.
Once you’ve identified opportunities for improvement, be sure to take action to let your employees know that their voices are heard and taken seriously.
You can do the same with customers. Select a handful of customers who would make good brand champions and ask them to take a survey or participate in a focus group to gather feedback.
Having these insights into brand sentiment gives you a starting point in choosing the right brand champions and understanding how they can best advocate for your brand.
Before you can have brand champions working towards success, you need to have the right systems in place. If you want your employees to become brand champions, it may take a little more effort and structural implementation.
For example, you want to create an environment that breeds happy employees, because happy employees make great champions who will promote your brand without you asking.
It’s like when you fall in love with a product that you just bought. You’ll take any opportunity to tell people how much you love it – even if you don’t have the 10% referral discount code.
If your company is publicly traded, consider offering restricted stock units (RSUs) to your employees. RSUs are stock granted to employees as compensation with a vesting schedule that can occur anywhere from one to a few years after the employee’s start date.
Giving your employees an equity stake in your company can build their loyalty to your company and get them invested in its growth.
Other ways to make your employees brand champions include:
- Providing opportunities for professional development.
- Investing in diversity and inclusion initiatives such as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).
- Creating psychological security.
The same ideas can be applied to the customers you want to be brand champions for your business. have a structure or system in place Earlier Bringing up these brand champions. The system should make it easy for brand champions to spread the word about your business or share promos.
For example, you can create a referral discount code for customers to share on social media.
Or, create a channel that helps brand champions communicate when there are product launches or major announcements that you want them to help you share.
Tap into your Brand Champions
When leveraged correctly, brand champions can be powerful advocates for your business.
These individuals—whether they’re employees or customers—form an organic channel that helps spread awareness of your brand and portrays your business in a positive light.