The Care and Nurturing of Brand Champions

by Cheryl Carr on November 29, 2011

By Andrew Brown, Guest Blogger

Brand champions are passionate advocates of your organization. They are critical in promoting and referring your business to others. And, in an ever-evolving, instantaneous digital environment, their experiences with your brand are more likely to be heard now more than ever.

So, don’t delay – have a plan to keep those brand champions engaged.

For years, we’ve worked with Special Olympics New York, an organization that is driven by brand champions. Volunteers in this organization are some of the most dedicated brand champions you can find, even to the point of rappelling off buildings and plunging into cold lake water to raise money. They are involved with the organization on a multitude of levels from coaching to helping to organize events. Combined with the enthusiasm of the athletes and their families, the Special Olympics experience is a boost to a truly inspirational brand.

Not every organization has the capacity to generate that level of commitment. But just about every organization has brand champions at some level; and perhaps, it’s a resource waiting to be tapped.

Some organizations reach out to brand champions through traditional means such as hosting open houses, organizing community days and involvement with charitable and industry events.  Events like these provide the opportunity to talk to your loyal audience members one-on-one, and hear what they are saying about your brand.

There are also lots of opportunities to harness the enthusiasm of brand champions online. With so many technology tools available, you can exponentially affect audience share and increase positive word-of-mouth via online communication with this target audience. Brand champions can bring a whole new energy, for example, to your Facebook page or Twitter feed, as long as you provide them interactive and genuine content that continues to peak their interest.

Brand champions are your brand loyalists. Ask them to volunteer or help you trial a new product or service. Request their opinions and ideas, and let them tell you how your organization could be better. Then thank them and let them know you are listening.

If you’re lucky enough to have passionate and trusting brand champions on your side, keep nurturing those relationships. You can’t realistically build a brand without them.