Creating a community of customers & ambassadors: a beautiful challenge for your CRM Creating a community of customers & ambassadors: a beautiful challenge for your CRM

Creating a community of customers & ambassadors: a beautiful challenge for your CRM

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on 19 March 2018

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Digital, with its innovations, is constantly bringing to light new consumer behavior. Besides, the latter are more and more active in their relationships with brands and no longer want to be idle onlookers.

The birth of these “consum’actors”, a play on the French for “consumer” and “actors”, in the sense of active consumers, must be used intelligently create a community and ambassadors at the core of a CRM strategy.

Several questions should be raised before starting:

Why drop your famous muses and place your faith in your experienced consumers?

For a long time, brands thought only of being visible to consumers. So, they used famous persons to embody their brand and its values.

But today, there is real distrust by consumers. One could even say a “crisis of trust”.

Certain figures express this “malaise”:

  • 50% of the French state giving greater credence to brands which give access to their customer reviews. (Opinionway poll, 2017)
  • 66% confide that they are influenced by word-of-mouth and online consumer reviews. (Nielsen, 2016)
  • and finally, 85% of individuals are dissuaded from making a purchase after reading a negative review (Ifop, 2016).

Advertisers can no longer count on simple advertising and must concentrate on their customers and the community they create.  

And the strong brands are those able to create a core of active loyal customers who are not afraid to speak out. They will now carry the brand’s values and legitimize the commercial spiel.

The large agro-food groups understand this and today, all have created their community platform (Danone Inside, Ma Vie en Couleurs, Envie de Plus).

Danone Inside home page, the Danone customer platform

Much better advertising in the current context and generally at a lower cost!

Who will your future ambassadors be? 

 They are your hardcore customers. Those who won’t hesitate to give their opinion, to promote and defend your brand and your products. But also, those who will give you feedback on problems or suggest improvements.

Their approach is more often spontaneous (“I had a beautiful shopping experience and I want to share”). But this can also be encouraged by way of marketing methods for customer feedback or straight out provoking it with rewards.

To be a good Ambassador, a customer must be influential, ready to invest in an interactive relationship with you, and above all, maintain a critical view of what you will propose. 

For example, ambassadors of the Le Petit Marseillais brand are called to actively participate on the product-dedicated platform: reviews, surveys, polls, sharing of content, etc. They are asked to be completely sincere and to develop the visibility of customer reviews.

Le Petit Marseillais Ambassador Program

But all means are good when it comes to finding customers who will be your spokespersons: National casting for Philadelphia, identification on the social networks or community platforms like Club Allociné or Ma Vie en Couleurs or simply signing up for Pampers Ambassadors.

But be careful. Don’t start with the principle that all your customers are potential ambassadors because they must have certain qualities you don’t want to overlook.

The selection of your “Ambassadors” can first be made on the basis of very fact-based criteria: upper-level RFMs, numerous interactions with the brand (clicks, likes, participation, sharing, etc.) and even brick-and-mortar store recommendations (they know their customers well). You can also add those who complete satisfaction questionnaires, those active on your social networks, or those on specialized forums.

Toss the simple call for candidates as you run the risk of attracting simple opportunists who will not participate to the level of your investment.

Facilitating your community and developing attachment

Up to you now to actively lead your community on a daily basis to give your ambassadors subject matter and to create sustainable commitment, or a downright feeling of belonging.

It takes almost an emotional relationship to maintain a strong connection: tell a story, bring the customers onboard and watch them embrace your values. That’s what the Philadelphia brand did a while back in the United States with the nomination of 4 Ambassadors further to a national casting call. The Ambassadors then posted their advice, recipes, or videos. And in the end, Philadelphia published a recipe book directly inspired by the content proposed by their 4 ambassadors.

Philadelphia program logo (USA)

Facilitation can take different shapes:

  • have your products tested (in preview!) and listen to what the Ambassadors day. There is always room for improvement! That is notably what Ma Vie en Couleurs offers for a large palette of their products.
  • physically meet with your Ambassadors regularly by way of events (private or not). It’s proximity and personalization that will create commitment. That’s the principle behind the Allociné Club 300 that brings together the site’s most active members. They are invited to attend private showings, movie master classes, or meetings with professionals.

Allociné program logo (France)

  • keep in touch with letters, emails, and messages on social media.
  • offer your Ambassadors exclusives and special advantages (gifts, samples, etc.) In the US, Procter&Gamble’s Vocal Point is for example, completely based on “remuneration” for each action made by a committed customer.
  • let the Ambassadors embody your brand in commercial or corporate advertising: interviews, photos, videos, etc., and let it be known in order to solicit envy in other customers.
  • one could even imagine giving Ambassadors advertising tools so they create their own content on your brand (videos, pictures, reviews, etc.)
  • and of course, don’t forget to thank your Ambassadors regularly for their participation. 

This type of facilitation will make it possible to maintain strong motivation with customers by proving they have a role to play with your brand, and in the long run, their average purchase will certainly increase.

It’s this vision of ambassador communities that guide numerous advertisers’ relationship strategies today.

 

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Creating a community of customers & ambassadors: a beautiful challenge for your CRM