When I was at HealthTalk/everydayhealth our bloggers used to email me their blog posts everyday and I’d post them. It was extra work but I actually really liked that process because along with every blog post attachment they would email me stories about what was going on in their lives and I would in turn email them back about mine. I really liked that process because even though they lived all over the country and I never met them in person, I felt close to them and most definitely considered them my friends. In hindsight I realize how much that simple process helped solidify us as a community. I’ve taken that community building mentality and applied it to what I’ve built today. Of course I’m always surprised and impressed with the ideas the community members have themselves. One of the most important community building we’ve ever had at ICEdot was suggested by ICEdot Athlete, @okietorchbearer.
ICEdot Athlete @rbuike is currently a brand ambassador for four different brands and agreed that when it comes to brand ambassador programs community is key. He told me, “The interaction between athletes is motivating, it is inspiring to see what others are doing (like Mikeal running a marathon carrying car tires!) and the support and well wishes from others is great. At first I thought the “stuff” was the real benefit to the sponsorship but I’ve come to find the community and the promotion of me as an athlete is what I get the most out of being a brand ambassador. The “stuff” is great but the rest is what really interests me.”
Whenever I choose a brand ambassador it’s usually apparent to me that they want to participate for the love of the subject or the excitement about the product itself. I think people underestimate how much people like to share their knowledge (I wouldn’t be writing this blog if that weren’t true for myself). Having a platform to share knowledge or spread the word is something that true ambassadors find real value. According to Rodney those are the type of ambassadors brands should be recruiting. “The ‘what can I do for you?’ kind of person. All too often I think that people get selected and the mindset changes to what can you do for me,” says Rodney.
I’m proud to say that I’ve rarely run into that type of brand ambassador. It’s happened but it’s by far the exception and not the norm. If you’re thinking about building a brand ambassador program determining how you’re going to create community should be part of your strategy.