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The Brains and Business of Brand Ambassadors 

Perhaps the most important key to unlocking successful professional outcomes is learning how to incorporate empathy in your personal interactions. Every day all of us engaged in professional growth within the A/E community are Brand Ambassadors, also known as a seller doers.  Guest author Dean Lincoln Hyers, Founder, Principal, a seasoned speaker and best-selling author of SagePresence, teaches us new ways to improve personal interactions to energize your professional success. 

BRAND AMBASSADORS bring a company's value proposition to life in the community by talking about it with the people in their networks.  A value proposition is, most often, a statement that tells clients and potential clients the biggest benefit you will deliver in your work with them -- it's the company's story.  Brand ambassadors promote the company positively.  They engage people and get them excited about the company.  They increase brand awareness and expand the potential for connections that will lead to future sales. 
The Science of Brand Ambassadors

Empathy connects us to others.  To help potential clients, we need to understand their needs and demonstrate how we can benefit them.  People whose needs are met feel listened to, understood, and helped.  This is the foundation of a trusting relationship. 
Three key lessons from the science can unlock feelings of empathy and trust with your clients:

1.  Show appreciation.  Appreciate your clients and the value they bring to your company.  Don't focus solely on the money they spend.  Focus on how partnering with them will help you both grow, why you like working with them, or past successes.  When you appreciate the value of others, they feel seen.  And feeling seen makes people feel connected.  

2.  Tell a story.  Stories create affinity, a way for people to connect about an experience or situation.  Storytelling makes business personal and more experiential by adding emotion.  The emotional aspect of the story has a better potential to trigger empathy. 

3.  Get into their narrative.  Focus on how you can meet the client's needs and how you can help them.  Understand their expectations and frustrations.  To do this ask questions and really listen to the responses that come back.  Reflect back to them not only the information you learn but also the feelings they have around their problems and goals. 
When working with clients, your firm's value proposition is the best story for a brand ambassador to tell.  What sets a value proposition apart from any other story is the use of a differentiator-- in other words, who is the Hero of this story?  The differentiator emphasizes what makes your firm different.  Many firms don't have a single solution that makes them unique.  Rather, they have a  collection of knowledge, experience, skills, culture and experiences that sets them apart from anyone else. 

These questions will help you to identify your differentiator:

1.  What background differentiates your people?  Example: Our educational architects/engineers all come from teaching backgrounds.  

2.  What process concept is integral to the way you offer it?  Example:  We follow a user-led design model, involving students and faculty as part of our design teams.  

3.  What external concept can you associate yourself with to enhance the idea of your offering?  Example:  We use lean design, leveraging the power of Six Sigma efficiency at the idea phase. 

4.  How can you describe the experience you will provide that is different from what others provide?  Example:  Some designers work in isolation, but we're the team you pick when you want to be part of the process.  

5.  What metaphor captures your differentiator to describe instantly and visually how to think of your service?  Example:  It can be hard to predict exactly what expert you will need, or when.  Think of us as your Swiss Army Knife -- we're in your back pocket throughout your journey, with the right experts at the ready when you need them.  

Seven Essential Components of a Brand Ambassador Program 

Your value proposition is the foundation to build brand ambassadorship.  A brand ambassador program then systematically embeds brand ambassadorship into your company's culture and operation.  While these foundational elements are unique to each program, all have seven essential components:

1.  Concept-based value proposition.  Telling stories increases trust and builds relationships.  The value proposition is a specific story type that hinges on the 5 components noted earlier in this article.  

2.  Team wide understanding of how to adapt the value proposition.  Successful programs help ambassadors learn to adapt their company's value proposition to the specifics of their division, department, or service lines.  

3.  A team empowered as brand ambassadors. Leadership gives the team permission to represent the brand with guidelines and encouragement around communication mechanisms.

4.  Integration of brand ambassadorship within daily activities.  Leaders need to help employees find time to integrate ambassadorship activities into existing workloads.

5.  Communication readiness for all client-facing staff. Successful programs promote effective communication skills for everyone who faces clients, interacts at conventions or industry events, or answers the phone.  

6.  Team wide consistency.  Firms that can develop common language and processes for communication, presentation, and business development can reinforce each other so clients have a similar experience with the company and its brand. 

7.  Awareness of the business development process.  Employees may not feel responsible for business development, but it is important that they know what to do when they encounter a prospective lead -- that is, how to hand off potential sales opportunities.  The entire team, not just the people in charge of sales, participates in the business development process. 

Your strength in relationship building as a brand ambassador relies on the progress of your professional career as an architect, engineer and landscape architect.  Being a successful brand ambassador also includes your achievements -- your professional credentials.  Properly and efficiently maintaining your credentials takes time and effort away from relationship building as a brand ambassador.  Let us help you be the best brand ambassador you can be, by providing professional  credentials management services.  Visit for more information or call us at 913-608-7880.


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