If your stories are all about your product and services, that’s not story telling. It’s a brochure. At 3@1 Business Centre, we want our story to be about recognising our long-term brand ambassadors who faithfully and consistently champion the 3@1 Business Centre franchise brand.
In diplomacy, an ambassador is a person in charge of representing an organisation or state in another country. Today this term has been adopted for brand and marketing purposes, to distinguish and define a specific category of person or customer. These are people who promote a brand, product, or company spontaneously. An ambassador is first and foremost a prescriber, a person who speaks positively about your company or brand to others in a significant way.
As with any growth strategy, referral marketing requires the right mix of strategy, resources, technology, and of course people – the latter playing a particularly critical role in driving the process. If you manage to find the right ambassadors with the right blend of skills, personality, and credibility, your referral platform will be influenced automatically. For 3@1 Business Centres, that is our 85 odd franchisees who are established in 4 countries, and in turn their own customers, who are also all our revenue. But, some have a special role; they are really brand ambassadors.
So, how do you recognise authentic ambassadors for a brand like us? 3@1 Business Centre Fourways has proudly proven to be this leading team for us. For over 15 years, the franchisee team of Peter and Tania Edwards and their outstanding staff complement have been our champion ambassadors. As people who play an active role in the promotion of 3@1 Business Centres Franchise Group, they enthusiastically take part in any participatory projects we launch, such as social media campaigns and advertising spots. In our case, they also help prepare franchisees when joining the group to launch their own 3@1 stores.
A high level of professionalism is displayed by these remarkable individuals and their team, leading by example and projecting a benchmark for new operators. They’ll be talking about 3@1 Business Centres, encouraging others to join the group, checking out the broad-based products and services on offer, and influencing how others perceive our group of franchisees nationally and abroad.
For these ambassadors, the brand is also a philosophy, a state-of-mind, an environment, a quality of service, etc. which is why ambassador relationships are long-term. It is very important to identify your preferred ambassadors to get them more involved and incorporate them into your overall strategy as the brand develops. This is the first and most intuitive criterion; an ambassador shows that they like your brand so much that they are invested in creating future customer satisfaction in terms of business selection, products, services and after-sales support. A real ambassador is an influential person, who has an audience and acts voluntarily. They tend to have an emotional relationship with a brand and its leadership team and often influence ways to bring about change, for instance, acting as a pilot operations for developing new products and services thereby contributing to progress in brand development.
Peter and Tania Edwards have fulfilled these roles over the years via assisting us in many aspects of the franchise model, including training and playing a supportive role to existing franchisees without qualm or question. They are natural leaders and have developed their expertise. People seek out their opinions, because they also exude confidence and positivity, traits that draw you in and make you want to listen. These are the same types of people we want representing our brand in the marketplace tomorrow, here in South Africa, further into Africa and across the World. They have a passion for building and growing relationships, and driven to foster strong, loyal and longstanding relationships between people looking to buy in, existing franchisees and the 3@1 Business Centre franchise brand. This constructive alliance between franchisor and franchisee establishes foundational relationships that serves everyone across the board.
With the ability to gather feedback and provide innovative insight inevitably, as brand ambassadors they relate back, based on their experience with our referees, their customer base, other existing franchise owners, services and products, as well as their conversations with competitors. This information can and does provide critical intelligence that helps us improve our projections and, more broadly, our business model for tomorrow.
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