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Building an ambassador program with Parrish Ventures

This document outlines how a brand can build an ambassador program to fit target personas and grow engagement in multiple locations. It’s based on my experience working with global brands to realize revenue and brand awareness goals.

Bryce Parrish
Founder @ Parrish Ventures

THE AMBASSADOR ADVANTAGE

Bryce Parrish: Founder @ Parrish Ventures

Context:

This document is an educational and informative piece for any individual or brand that is interested in cultivating influence and amplifying brand impact through the strategic deployment of a scalable ambassador* program. This document has been stripped and built into an open-source template for anyone who is making the business case as to why, or why not, to invest their brand and team’s time, energy, and financial resources in accelerating growth through ambassador amplification. In subsequent artifacts, I will provide you additional material for operationalizing and scaling every aspect of your ambassador program; but first, we must successfully make the pitch internally to get leadership excited and supportive for this undertaking.

* AMB = Ambassador

The Ambassador Advantage:

In this section, you need to deliver two things:
  1. Provide context to the reader as to what you mean, and don’t mean, by an AMB program. Do not assume they know what an AMB program is; build for the lowest common denominator. AMB programs aren’t widely adopted - many times due to the resources required to stand them up, which I will demystify for you in a later artifact. Education is most critical at this stage in your pitch to adopt an AMB program for your brand and team - deliver just that.
  2. Contextualize the value of what an AMB program can provide. At the highest of level, they are typically adopted for one of the following reasons: a) accelerate brand awareness, b) generate sales, c) amass a social following, and d) unlock the power of community

The Importance of Implementing a Program, Now:

In this section, you need to directly address the common question you’ll get from key, internal stakeholders of, “why now?”. AMB programs are known to date back to the Romans where gladiators were believed to have endorsed products to the public, but have been respectfully lightly adopted by B2B and B2C brands due to a lack of knowledge on how best to deploy these programs. You will want to position the program in a way that can be done so, at scale, tested in a lightweight manner without having to onboard a specialty agency costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, executed in a way where ROI can be readily measured to understand and justify the value return, and most importantly, without suffocating existing resources while being. An AMB program is just one part of a brand’s marketing mix.

Program Structure: From MVP to Scale

In this section you need to break out how this program will work, particularly the initial start - overcoming the cold-start problem that many have when wanting to stand up an AMB program. The program needs to be thoughtfully structured as a 2-way reversible door and pilot. Then, once you layout the short-term structure of the program, you will need to sell the vision. Below is a very lightweight example of doing both.

  • Short term: We will onboard and activate XX AMBs over the course of the next YY months. This will require minimal human capital and financial resources, and be built in a way that if it works, we can double down, though if it doesn’t, we can close the door on the program.
  • Long term: If program goals are met and there is significant interest and appetite to scale out the program, we will look to onboard XX regional managers that will be responsible for prospecting, onboarding, and managing the ambassadors within their respective geos. This will allow us to push the operations down-stream to the invested ambassadors who want to grow their portfolio of life experiences in coordination with our brand.

Program Goals:

Be as descriptive, quantifiable, and time-bound as possible in listing your program goals. Below, I have provided a few examples for you to build off of.

Program operations focused

  • Onboard [XX] brand AMBs across [City], [City], [City] by [Date]
  • Activate [XX] brand AMB-led community events in [City], [City], [City] by [Date]

Brand awareness focused

  • Generate [XXM] impressions across all [XX] AMB Instagram by [Date]
  • Active [XX] social media post with all [XX] AMB on Instagram by [Date]

Acquisition and sales focused

  • Generate [$XXM] in AMB generated sales, as measured by use of their collective affiliate-like codes, by [Date]
  • Acquire [XK] net-new email addresses or customers, as measured by use of the AMBs collective affiliate-like codes, by [Date]

Target Ambassador:

Similar to personifying your target consumer, you need to profile and personify your target ambassador to ensure alignment with your brand and to make prospecting more targeted and qualified. Here are some things to consider:

  • Occupation: Currently enrolled, US-based collegiate student
  • Age: 18-22
  • Gender: Any
  • Social: Has accounts on IG, but no following limits required
  • Interests: An active poster about topics [X] and [Y]
  • Experience: Has been or is an AMB for another brand
  • Bonus: Leads an existing group of individuals around topics [X] and [Y]

Program Timeline:

Below is an example timeline of an AMB program, consisting of 7 phases: detailed below.

Building_an_ambassador_program_at_Parrish_Ventures_1

Resourcing:

In this section, you need to address two things:

  1. What human capital resources are needed to execute the MVP. Be as descriptive as possible, explicitly calling out their name and numbers of hours required per week for them to support.
  2. What budget is needed to support the program - from promotion, to onboarding, to scaling.

Next Steps:

Final section here, you’re almost done! Provide concrete next steps, notating what is needed in order to move from one step to the other. Below is an example.

  1. Share program overview and get alignment on next steps with Leadership → we are here
  2. (Assuming approval) Social this document with other, key stakeholders
  3. Set regularly occurring meetings with the working team responsible for this program
  4. Set regularly occurring meetings with Leadership to provide program status updates

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