Business Growth and Brand Ambassadors
I was reading ‘The Age’ newspaper on the weekend and came across an article that was talking about St Kilda Football Club and it’s sponsorship deal with St George Bank (Collins & Spencer 10th September 2011). It proved interesting reading and reinforces the power of the people within a business and the impact they can have on business growth.
St George Bank has decided to pull it’s sponsorship from the club after a period of three years for a couple of reasons, one being it’s rebranding to Bank Of Melbourne but another was due to the numerous incidents off the field that involved St Kilda players. Sponsorships are key to a clubs success and this is going to leave a hole in St Kilda’s balance sheet of a cool $400,000.
Business Growth Impacted By The Minority
The entire club has been penalized due to a few individuals. These individuals who are the brand ambassadors of the St Kilda Football Club business cost their club dearly. This is the power that people have within your business. They have the power to deliver fantastic results, be productive, contribute to business growth and success and really make a difference. But they also have the power to create the exact opposite effect and really damage a business.
Another incident that cost a club dearly was the incident of drink driving by a Richmond Football club player. This cost the club the TAC sponsorship and a big hole in their balance sheet also.
The Importance Of Expectation To Business Growth
Some will argue that the examples I am using are unfair as football players are constantly in the spotlight and scrutinized by the media. I can’t think of a better example. AFL is business proper these days. The players are brand ambassadors for their club. Come with that are responsibilities and consequences. And these must be communicated in business, your business, as it is no different to others.
From the outset and ongoing, your team, your brand ambassadors need to be reminded of the responsibilities of working in your business and what the expectations are, both in outcomes and behaviour. Every business needs to have a clear framework in place for people to operate within and measurement tools to monitor performance.
Your brand ambassadors are so crucial to the business growth and the success of your business. Some keys that you need to ensure your brand ambassadors are clear on are:
- The ethics and values of your business
- The culture and what is expected by way of behavioural standards
- How they present to clients both verbally and physically
- What is expected when they are at social and networking functions
- How you interact with your clients
- How you deliver on promises
- The consequences of bad behaviours
- The rewards for supporting and representing the business to a high standard
- What is acceptable language both verbal and written?
By ensuring you have crystal clear guidelines in place for how your brand ambassadors are expected to represent your business, measurement tools in place and the courage to stamp out any misrepresentation as soon as it happens, you shouldn’t have a problem. By ensuring that new recruits and existing staff are clear, you are then providing them with the option to comply or not. If they do, there is reward, for the business and individually. If they choose not to, there is consequence. They make that decision. Ignore this at your peril. It will impact your business and your business growth.
Your team ambassadors Personal Brand needs to compliment your business brand. In the majority it comes down to clarity and reinforcement. If you take the time to do this, you are not only protecting your brand and culture, but you are also protecting your business growth. And business growth is something that every business strives to achieve.
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