Chantel: Deb, thank you so much for joining us today.
Deb: Thank you for having me Chantel.
Chantel: Do you want to start off by giving us your definition of a brand ambassador.
Deb: The way I see a brand ambassador is, I know some band ambassadors are paid, some are not. But I feel like it’s your most loyal, engaged customer. The person who is almost like an evangelist for your brand, who is going to talk about you on social media, tell all their friends about you, is not even gonna think about going someplace else. They are the most absolutely most engaged customer that you can have.
Chantel: We hear the word influencer a lot at the moment. Is there a difference between a brand ambassador and an influencer?
Deb: Well I do think a brand ambassador, obviously, is a strong influencer. But I think that a brand ambassador is a little bit different than an influencer because they often have leadership qualities and they have this amazing ability to motivate people and have some type of resilience that they’ve … hard working resilience.
Chantel: Okay, so if we are thinking about our own facilities, what qualities, if we wanted to identify or find a brand ambassador or work with someone. What qualities should we look for in that person?
Deb: Well, I mean, I think that we need to have somebody who is our biggest fan. So they are gonna be out there on social media, already talking about our brand, already talking about our facility. They may have some local presence in the community, some local celebrity or some type of person who is already well known. And, at that point, you want to recognise them for maybe you do some sort of trade for membership or what have you. It’s a great opportunity for them to continue to talk about what they love and for you to emphasis your brand.
Chantel: And engage them?
Chantel: So, in your experience Deb, do you think it’s necessary to put some sort of a formal arrangement in place for those? You mentioned, maybe do an exchange for a membership or something like that. How important is that on a club level that you have a formal agreement in place with your brand ambassador?
Deb: I think you need to have some sort of protection, some liability protection. So it’s important to put something in place in writing, to a degree.
Chantel: And with that person that’s representing you. Would you … do you think that a club would be in the position to stipulate the quantity of, sort of representation that, that brand ambassador does? So, for example, if it’s just an arrangement whereby they get a membership in return for being a brand ambassador. Is the club in a position where they can say, “you need to put out five Facebook posts every two weeks and you need to take seven Instagram photos of you working out in the club.” Do you think that the club is in a position to do that? Or, does a financial arrangement come into place when you go into those specifics?
Deb: I think it’s gonna vary from location to location, but, I do think that you can put some specific stipulations into place. I don’t think that giving them the x amount of pictures that need to be uploaded, but, maybe you pick a day that they take over your social media and they are the one posting on your social media that day. And you pick a day that they are taking over your Instagram or they’re taking your website, you’re doing an interview with them inside the club or outside the club. I think things like that can be stipulated, whereas, number of pictures, those things are more difficult to regulate.
Chantel: And we talked about some big name brand ambassadors out there in the world. Have you got any examples that you can share with us of clubs that have used a brand ambassador and how they might have utilised that person?
Deb: Active Wellness uses our brand ambassador in California and her name is Amy Gutierrez, Amy G., she’s a local newscaster and she is great. She does a lot of social media events for us and has taken over, she’s in a lot of … she works out at our Petaluma facility primarily, and she often puts herself out in the zone pictures and she’s involved in a lot of our photo events and things like that.
Chantel: So that works out well for …
Deb: That’s been awesome, yeah.
Chantel: That’s brilliant. And that’s probably a good example, you just said she’s like a local news reader.
Chantel: And that’s probably, I would imagine for many of our facilities, a good example of the level of person or the type of person that we could approach.
Chantel: To be a brand ambassador. So Deb, up until now we’ve been talking about external brand ambassadors. But, can we also look internally for our brand ambassadors?
Deb: Absolutely, I think one of our biggest assets and one of the biggest places that we want to look and drive that brand ambassador relationship is with our own team members and our own staff. I think it’s important that we are hiring for the core values from the immediacy from a first step of the interview process, we want to make sure that we’re talking about what kind of person they are, and then as they come through and they start to work for us for any length of time, you’re gonna find out who are your cultural leaders in the company. And I think that as you find those people you want to enhance that, you want to give them more opportunities to embrace that opportunity to kind of bring on, I would say, more leadership abilities to their plate.
Chantel: And, would you put that as part of their … if you identify that person, within the business, that had the right cultural fit and has those leadership capabilities that you talk about. Would you make that part of their KPI’s? Or part of their job description? Or is this something that is treated separately to that?
Deb: I think you … I think it depends on what role that they play, but, yes, you want to define role responsibilities pretty clearly. So, let’s use the customer service response, if you are looking at a medalia response, we want to make sure that, that’s part of their role responsibility and that it’s clearly defined and it’s clearly explained and taught how we want that response to be given.
Chantel: Okay, so thinking about then, in our own businesses. Do you have any examples that you can share with us of a brand ambassador within businesses that you’re in now, or have been working in?
Deb: Sure, I think that our own CEO of Active Wellness, Bill McBride, is a great example of a brand ambassador for our industry and for our company. He goes out of his way to lead in the industry by speaking at conferences and doing these pod casts and travels all over the country and the world, honestly, to meet with people and talk at different industry events so that he can not only get our name out there as Active Wellness, but also, just as a leader in the industry and a motivator and a role responsibility.
Chantel: That’s actually a really good example, because when we had the pleasure of having Bill on the show a couple times, and when I think about him, I think about someone who represents great leadership, who is amazing at talking about strategy and is always up to date with what’s happening, as far as industry trends go and so, I can appreciate you sharing him as an example of a brand ambassador ’cause I definitely see him in that light as well, in my dealings with him, so that’s a really good example. Well Deb, thank you so much for joining us today. Now if anyone wants to contact you, if they want to talk further or find out more about the topic of brand ambassadors, where’s the best place for them to contact you?
Deb: They can find me on LinkedIn, and I’m on LinkedIn as Deborah Heisler, or they can find me on my email too.
Chantel: Excellent, so we’ll grab your email address and pop it in the show notes and we’ll also maybe grab the link for your LinkedIn as well so everyone gets the spelling of your name correct.
Deb: Sounds good.
Chantel: Deb, thank you so much for joining us today.
Deb: Thank you Chantel, I appreciate it.
Active Management Members receive monthly tools to make your life as a fitness business owner, manager or team members easier. Become a member today at www.ActiveMgmt.com.a/joinnow
With nearly 1 million downloads, The Fitness Business Podcast is the most practical podcast in the world. Subscribe to the show notes now for all the resources guests share delivered to your inbox.