Several years ago, I was a Regional Sales Director for a small company that grew and packaged specialty lettuces and greens, which were sold through both retail and foodservice channels. At the core of the product line was a beautiful green known as “mâche” or lamb’s lettuce. It’s a beautiful emerald green, has a light nutty flavor, and is incredibly nutritious.
It’s also very much a niche item, and the company’s marketing budget was tiny. The Marketing Director asked us to extend the reach of her limited resources by supporting her efforts as “Brand Ambassadors” in our Regions. There we were, an army of three Regional Directors, dispersed across the Lower 48, equipped, it seemed, with emerald green attire, a megaphone, pom-poms, batons and a one-man-marching-band assortment of instruments. Well, I exaggerate a bit, but as Brand Ambassadors, we were well versed and fully trained to provide on-the-spot mâche information – historical trivia, nutritional highlights, recipe ideas – to all we encountered on or off the job. We were INFORMED, and we carried THE BRAND MESSAGE fully in sync with positioning and strategy.
So, the “Brand Ambassador” recruiting efforts described in this Wall Street Journal article, whereby restaurants extend their marketing reach by way of Instagram “Influencers” really caught my attention.
Restaurants are the focus of this article, but this has implications for everyone in the food industry, and it seriously bears this question:
How best to harness the power of spontaneous, grass roots, cell phone-armed legions of Brand Ambassadors, and positively reinforce the Brand’s intended position and message?
This calls for a yet another dimension of messaging strategy and vast implications for the tactical management of 24/7, sometimes around-the-globe, grass roots communications. Does your communications strategy go this far?
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