Scaling up for Success: Building a Brand Ambassador Blueprint for European Expansion
Stellar’s CEO Emma Ede explains how
Building a team of highly successful brand ambassadors is something of an art and requires years of experience and expertise.
I have been creating such teams for an impressive portfolio of brands for more than 20 year, and have celebrated every win and encountered every challenge imaginable.
Nespresso was my client for more than a decade; I took their existing team of 20 and grew it to a crew of 170 high-performing brand ambassadors, working within leading retailers in various locations across the UK.
When Sage Appliances launched in the UK in 2014, I was engaged from the beginning and crafted their team of brand ambassadors from scratch, building it up to a group of 50, thus increasing ROI from zero to more than 50 per cent, year on year.
Thanks to the success of the Sage UK team, here at Stellar we were equipped to grow that team to 150 ambassadors in ten European markets within five months and, today, deliver more than 8,000 demonstrations every year.
In order to achieve this feat, we relied solely on one critical tool – our blueprint.
Our European blueprint is the result of six years of meticulous work and experience in our sector in the UK. It has evolved over the years and was adapted to absorb our valuable learnings and the challenges we overcame.
As a perfected and finely tuned tool, it is our ultimate guide to best practice when building teams of brand ambassadors set up for success.A single tool that works across a variety of markets in many countries.
Dave Gubbin, General Manager for Sage Europe, describes how the blueprint works for them:
“At Sage, we have a passion for the outcome. When we design products like our espresso machines, they are incredible, purely because we study food and drink to such an intense level. Because of our passion for what’s in the cup, our machines deliver mastery in YOUR cup. Especially in lockdown.
When our passion for the result finds its way into a one-on-one conversation and demonstration; and we sprinkle it with the knowledge and purpose of the tech hidden inside our machines, it’s a no brainier for the customer.
We don’t always get it right first time, who does? But by closely tracking, measuring and tweaking our storytelling techniques – we adapt. And we adapt FAST.
And then we scale.
Consistency is the then key to winning more. Once we’ve we got the formula right, why wouldn’t we take that winning formula across all markets.”
Attraction and Selection
Our blueprint starts with a variety of attraction methods, so as to reach out to suitable individuals who would work best within our teams.
Targeted advertisements are used on social media platforms and recruitment channels to appeal to potential candidates.
We scout for talent in retail environments or trade events as a super effective means of introducing new members to our books.
Our existing senior teams are also encouraged to make referrals and are rewarded should they recommend a successful candidate to us.
With extensive knowledge and experience in our armoury, we have built a very precise picture of the perfect profile for any brand.
A collection of characteristics and behaviours are vital for a brand ambassador to be successful, and more specific attributes can be useful to suit each brand, environment and customer profile.
At Stellar, we consider empathy, confidence, reliability and adaptability as key competencies.
Our brand ambassadors must be trustworthy team players who love people, are natural communicators and are passionate about their work.
Sales and customer service experience is a must, and they should also be results oriented, problem solvers with a thirst for brand knowledge.
For us, successful training is built on storytelling.
We provide trainees with authentic scenarios to highlight the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to sell.
If our team loves what they do and enjoys making great customer connections while building brand loyalty, that is what success looks like to us.
Our training process involves an immersive experience with our most senior team and is focussed on brand, customer service and sales skills.
The development of this technique across all our markets has shown a positive ROI within two months, a third of the time it took with our previous training course.
Other methods we employ include bi-annual demonstrator conferences sharing learning across multiple markets, in-store ‘buddy days’ where senior ambassadors are paired with new team members and live video training to enable Q&A.
Masterclass sessions with industry and product experts are also used, plus the gifting or loaning of the product to the demonstrator, which excels their knowledge and selling potential.
We use one communication tool to keep our teams connected and build communities.
Using shared European channels on Slack, the team can collaborate as efficiently as they would do face-to-face, exchanging learnings and tips for success between teams across many markets.
Inside the Brand
A large proportion of our team based at HQ has been recruited directly from the field, as they have the greatest understanding of the success factors required in selection and motivation.
We also embed our multilingual account managers within our client’s business so we can offer genuine support when meeting the organisation’s challenges.
Management and Appraisal
Our sole methodology for management and appraisal focusses on five simple metrics to ensure it is easily actioned across multiple markets.
- Appearance and environment – to ascertain whether customers are getting the most out of the demo or masterclass experience
- Targets – these are constantly reviewed and amended accordingly
- Reporting – clients receive analysis quickly, so timely reporting by team members is critical
- Brand and product knowledge – must always be up to date and thorough
- Team engagement – to ensure teams are interacting and sharing best practice
One Tool Fits All
Experience and results have proven time and again our blueprint works; we have devised the perfect tool to guarantee success, regardless of market or location.
While subtle tweaks may be required to reflect your brand, our blueprint for strong and successful brand ambassadors has been a long time in the making and we are confident it could work for you too.
Find out how we can transform your retail performance