Ambassador programs: Step away from the status quo

I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that the term “ambassador” has greatly lost its way in the agency world. Paid bloggers. Spokespeople. Models that stand next to cars at an auto show. I’ve heard them all called ambassadors. And I wholeheartedly disagree. So from my perspective, when it comes to ambassador programs, there’s the tired way of doing it and then there’s the inspired way of doing it:

The tired way: Agency goes off into a corner and builds the shell of a community hoping people will like it and join.
The inspired way: Building community with the actual people who want to participate.

The tired way: Using ambassadors to sell stuff.
The inspired way: Letting ambassadors be, well, ambassadors. Which, by its very definition, is a messenger of goodwill.

The tired way: Giving ambassadors content created by the company about the company telling them to spread it.
The inspired way: Creating content with and about ambassadors and their lives, then giving them that content and letting them do with it as they wish.

The tired way: Having a cattle call to join – no matter someone’s interest level.
The inspired way: Creating a small barrier of entry – so members put some skin in the game, too.

The tired way: Having an ambassador program revolve around coupons, contests and giving product away.
The inspired way: Creating a program that focuses on members and their lives, providing a strong conduit to connect people and their passions.

Building ambassador programs isn’t rocket science, but it is roll-up your sleeves hard work. But if you build it the right way and keep these tenants in mind, the results and added benefits you’ll see are simply amazing. Plus, you’ll see how it has positive, far reaching effects that reach every corner of your business.

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