In our personal lives, we all want champions.
If we’re lucky, that will start with our families and extend to our friends and significant other. In an ideal working environment, our managers would also support us and help us climb the ladder.
There’s nothing better than having people on the sidelines cheering for you and supporting you in the rooms you’re not in.
As a business owner, you also want that level of support for your brand.
That’s where a brand champion comes in as the promoter of your business and helping to grow your loyalty base.
Let’s dive into why you need a brand champion, how to get one, and how to incorporate it into your marketing strategy.
What is a Brand Champion?
A brand champion is someone 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, brand directors, employees, and customers.
Depending on the size of your business, you may have one or several champions. Sometimes, that role is tied up with employee responsibilities.
For example, an employer branding specialist is responsible for promoting the company’s culture and interests to external candidates. It’s kind of a champion brand in itself, as their role is focused on advocating for your brand.
The same can be said for brand ambassadors, who partner with businesses to promote them and generate leads.
One key difference to note here is that ambassadors are often contractually obligated to promote your brand. Champions may be encouraged to do so, but they are not obligated to celebrate your brand.
In a small company, the business owner can be a brand champion, motivating employees internally and connecting externally to get more customers.
The bottom line is that anyone can be a brand champion, and the more champions your brand has, the stronger it is.
How to become (and achieve) a brand champion
To be a brand champion, you must have some key traits and characteristics. A brand champion should:
- Enthusiasm for the company.
- Know the company’s vision, mission and values.
- Invest in the long-term success and growth of the brand.
- Skilled in leading development initiatives.
- Stay up to date on the most effective strategies to build brand loyalty employees and consumers.
One place you might want to start your search for brand champions is with your employees.
Studies show that that the way businesses treat their employees plays an important role in how trustworthy they appear to be. Especially in times of crisis, consumers look to how brands treat themselves.
Encouraging your employees to be brand champions will require some structural implementation within your organization.
You want an environment that produces happy employees because happy employees make great champions who will promote your brand without you having to ask.
It’s like when you love a product you just bought. You’ll find any opportunity to let everyone know how much you love it – even if you don’t have a 10% introductory discount code.
Start by running the normal staff net advertiser score (eNPS) survey. This will tell you how satisfied your employees are and tell you how you can better support them. Once you identify improvement opportunities, be sure to take action to let your employees know their voices are heard and taken seriously.
If your company is publicly traded, consider offering your employees restricted stock units (RSUs). RSUs are stock given to employees as a form of compensation with an evaluation schedule that can last from one to several years after the employee’s start date.
Giving your employees a stake in your company can build their loyalty to your company and let them invest in its growth.
Other ways to turn your employees into brand champions include:
- Offers career development opportunities.
- Invest in diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as employee resource groups (ERGs).
- Create a safe mentality.
How to Leverage Champion Brand Marketing
1. Invest in employer branding.
Employer brand is a form of marketing in which the target audience is candidates interested in joining your company. However, it can create a very positive perception of your brand among consumers.
We have already mentioned the importance of employees to building brand trust. If consumers perceive you as abusing employees or playing a game of profiteering, this can tarnish your brand image.
Your employer branding specialist is the person behind the strategies to showcase your internal brand champions.
At HubSpot, we have @HubSpotLife on Instagram, where we post information about employee takeovers, our Culture Code, and more.
This is an opportunity for our employees to tell the world what they love about working at HubSpot and share their personal experiences.
Employer branding is all about giving people insight into the benefits of working at your business.
2. Amplify the voices of your brand evangelists.
Whether you’re a small or large business, you probably know who your biggest customer advocates are.
You may know them by name or through data you’ve collected (like an NPS survey). These customers and loyalists are a goldmine when it comes to championing your business.
Odds are, they did it through word of mouth. Why not amplify their voices to maximize their impact?
If you’re running a campaign and want to include testimonials, reach out to your top supporters and ask them to join. You can reuse those testimonials for your website, landing pages, and more.
Another way to amplify the voices of your champions is to give them a custom referral code. When your champion refers someone to your brand, they and the recipient get a discount on their next purchase. And you get a new customer – it’s win-win.
3. Engage your brand champions on social media.
Treat your social media followers like brand champions in training.
They already like your brand, that’s why they’re following you. The more you nurture your relationship with them and build community, the more loyal they will become. In the end, they will become your brand champions.
There are countless ways to Engage your community on social media, including:
- Reply to comment
- Create your own group
- Create polls and surveys
- Conduct Q&A
- Go live with your followers
- Repost user-generated content
Brand champions do wonders for your public image, as they support your brand in a way that doesn’t look like an advertisement. So nurture those champions and leverage them to grow your brand even further.