EMG KnowledgeBuilder - Creating Brand Ambassadors with a Certificate Program


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This KnowledgeBuilder is a presentation of the Educational Marketing Group, Inc. on "Creating Brand Ambassadors with a Certificate Program". It was presented on October 5, 2011 by Cecelia Crow, Brand Marketing Manager at Virginia Tech. Learn more about KnowledgeBuilders at http://www.emgonline.com/Academy/Pages/EMG-Academy/KnowledgeBuilders.

How long can you carry on the momentum after a successful brand launch? When the on-campus buzz begins to soften, department communicators return their focus to accomplishing their unit goals often leaving the brand as an afterthought. But the university brand manager is left to keep the flame burning. In order to keep campus communicators and other relevant employees in tune with the institution’s brand, Virginia Tech’s marketing team developed a comprehensive, two-phase, 12-class Brand Ambassador Certification Program. The program turns the entire branding process inside out for a better understanding of Virginia Tech's brand and how it can work for a particular unit. Upon completion, faculty and staff become Certified Brand Ambassadors.

This KnowledgeBuilder is designed to teach you:
- How to keep everyone engaged in delivering brand attributes and presenting consistent brand standards
- How to develop a Brand Ambassador Program for your institution, no matter how large or small the size
- Utilization of on-campus resources to facilitate administration for the program
- How to market the program for successful enrollment

© 2011 Educational Marketing Group, Inc.
All rights reserved. This document contains protected intellectual property. The information and materials contained herein may not be duplicated, reproduced, or distributed in any manner whatsoever without the prior written consent of Educational Marketing Group, Inc.

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EMG KnowledgeBuilder - Creating Brand Ambassadors with a Certificate Program

  1. 1. Creating Brand Ambassadors with a Certification Program @ceceh1 Linkedin.com/in/ceceliacrow Cecelia Crow – Brand Marketing Manager, Virginia Tech
  2. 2. Credits <ul><li>Crow, Cecelia; Richards, Melissa. “ How to Create On-Campus and Off-Campus Brand Ambassadors through a Formal Brand Ambassador Certification Program ” American Marketing Association Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education. San Diego, California (November, 2010). Accompanying paper published in the American Marketing Association Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education 2010 Professional Proceedings Journal. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Lifecycle of a brand <ul><li>Development – research/market perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Launch – awareness/usage </li></ul><ul><li>Growth – adoption/increased promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Maintenance – “buzz” plateaus/refresh </li></ul><ul><li>Decline </li></ul>
  4. 4. Keeping the flame burning… <ul><li>Virginia Tech three years post launch: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On-campus buzz softening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of brand beginning to stray from core brand guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to reinvigorate brand education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New employees had minimum exposure to the brand launch history </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Poll Question: </li></ul><ul><li>Where are you in your institution’s </li></ul><ul><li>brand life cycle? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Virginia Tech Brand Development History
  7. 7. Rebranding exercise <ul><li>Focus group sessions </li></ul><ul><li>800 stakeholder inputs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Awareness/Perception survey </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Key University Relations personnel </li></ul><ul><li>Development of Brand Platform </li></ul>
  8. 8. Brand development <ul><li>Situational Analysis Aug – Nov, 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Positioning Platform Nov – Dec, 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness & Perceptions Survey Apr – July, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Development/Testing July – Nov, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Brand Campaign Launch February, 2006 </li></ul>
  9. 9. Brand platform <ul><li>Positioning Statement </li></ul><ul><li>Brand Promise </li></ul><ul><li>Brand Drivers </li></ul><ul><li>Tagline </li></ul><ul><li>Invent the Future ® </li></ul><ul><li>New advertising </li></ul>
  10. 10. Attribute Attribute Attribute Attribute Data points, examples Data points, examples Data points, examples Data points, examples Data points, examples Data points, examples Positioning Statement Brand Promise Brand Drivers Key Messages Proof Points Features Benefits Features Benefits Features Benefits Features Benefits Features Benefits
  11. 11. Brand launch <ul><li>Brand Launch – </li></ul><ul><li>February, 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic Tagline – </li></ul><ul><li>Invent the Future ® </li></ul><ul><li>New Identity Standards </li></ul><ul><li>with initial buy-in </li></ul><ul><li>Brand presentations across the university </li></ul>
  12. 12. Managing the brand Tragedy altered marketing communications strategy <ul><li>World saw a different side – caring and supportive community </li></ul><ul><li>Research indicated well-known for research and innovation </li></ul>
  13. 13. What did we need to do? <ul><li>Keep consistency of brand elements </li></ul><ul><li>Reserve the integrity of brand message </li></ul><ul><li>But change with the times and strategy </li></ul>
  14. 14. Managing the brand <ul><li>New admissions advertising showing close-knit community and collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Brand “buzz” campaign with influencers to change the conversation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User-generated website to connect with the audience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2008 research showed positive </li></ul><ul><li>“ needle move” </li></ul>
  15. 16. Expanding the brand <ul><li>Colleges and units found new ways to express the brand </li></ul><ul><li>Taking brand creativity too far </li></ul><ul><li>Need to revisit internal brand education </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand Refresh Retreat – 2008 </li></ul></ul>What next?
  16. 17. Need for brand engagement <ul><li>Internal Brand Campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Brand Ambassador Program implementation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand Re-education </li></ul></ul>
  17. 18. Need for brand engagement <ul><li>Objectives of Internal Campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Reinvigorate internal brand knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Change awareness levels of the brand to a way of thinking, speaking, and implementation – “living brand” </li></ul><ul><li>Reward model adopters </li></ul>
  18. 19. <ul><li>Poll Question: </li></ul><ul><li>What type of brand education program do you </li></ul><ul><li>have in place now? </li></ul>
  19. 20. Need for brand engagement <ul><li>Promotional items </li></ul><ul><li>Email template/HR brand module </li></ul><ul><li>Brand Newsletter </li></ul><ul><li>Student Ambassador team </li></ul><ul><li>Campus Ad Campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Brand Champions </li></ul>
  20. 21. Brand Ambassador Certification Program 2010
  21. 22. Steps to introduction <ul><li>Solid plan and buy-in from senior administration </li></ul><ul><li>Created highly-structured curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Identified on-campus knowledge leaders in their topic to instruct </li></ul><ul><li>Created buzz by pitching the program to most likely participants </li></ul>
  22. 23. What is a brand ambassador? <ul><li>Someone who acts as a steward for making the brand the foundation for all communications </li></ul><ul><li>“ Upholds the reputation of the university by ensuring that the Virginia Tech brand is followed, protected, and promoted consistently among all audiences” </li></ul>
  23. 24. Program objectives <ul><li>Inspire an innovative marketing culture inside university administration </li></ul><ul><li>Give employees the freedom and resources to represent the brand the best they can </li></ul><ul><li>Create a feedback loop from target audience segments back up to brand management </li></ul>
  24. 25. Marketing the program <ul><li>Solid plan with buy-in from senior administrators </li></ul><ul><li>Pitched the program to our campus communicators </li></ul><ul><li>Announced program at annual retreat </li></ul><ul><li>Initiated buzz through smaller group meetings and VT News </li></ul>
  25. 26. Brand marketing education <ul><li>Brand basics – promise, drivers, architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Development and evolution </li></ul><ul><li>Key messages and style </li></ul><ul><li>Visual identity </li></ul><ul><li>Use in multimedia </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign planning, engagement, and measurement </li></ul>
  26. 27. Phase I - Getting to Know Our Brand <ul><li>History of the Virginia Tech Brand </li></ul><ul><li>Branding Your Unit </li></ul><ul><li>Planning and Results with the Brand </li></ul><ul><li>Expanding the Brand </li></ul><ul><li>Identity and Style Guide </li></ul>
  27. 28. Phase II – Using Our Brand Workshops <ul><li>Designing for Our Brand </li></ul><ul><li>Writing for Our Brand </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging Our Brand </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive Analysis – How does YOUR Brand compare? </li></ul>
  28. 29. Phase II – Using Our Brand Workshops <ul><li>Our Brand on the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Our Brand with Multimedia </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile Applications and the Brand </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity and the Brand </li></ul>
  29. 30. Outcomes of program <ul><li>Brand Ambassadors can: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Easily use the Virginia Tech brand effectively in their daily work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Share with co-workers learned brand tips </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicate/measure unit’ s goals and objectives in line with the Virginia Tech brand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think “out-of-the-box” for branded design and writing strategies </li></ul></ul>
  30. 31. Certification requirements <ul><li>Each student may choose six (6) classes from either Phase I or Phase II or both </li></ul><ul><li>Upon completion the student receives a “Certified Brand Ambassador” certificate </li></ul>
  31. 32. Results <ul><li>Waiting list for most courses within 48 hours post-launch </li></ul><ul><li>144 employees attended at least one class </li></ul><ul><li>76 new brand ambassadors </li></ul>
  32. 33. Follow up <ul><li>Surveys after each </li></ul><ul><li>class </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usefulness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Level of content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pace of session </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarity of explanation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amount of information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Survey of brand ambassadors </li></ul>
  33. 34. “ The interaction with the presenters and the attendees was great.” “ I will certainly share this information with my workmates and encourage them to go to this class.” “ Definitely refreshed my memory and provided some new ideas for not only integrating the brand into writing, but also collaborating between departments to find new dimensions to a story.” “ [To improve this class] invite participants to bring in examples of their work and then discuss how it could be changed and adapted.” “ I will use the info from the Branding Certification classes every day in my work.”
  34. 35. Strategic changes <ul><li>Reduced each course from three time choices to two </li></ul><ul><li>One session of each course is now simulcast for off-campus ambassadors </li></ul><ul><li>Rotated a few instructors, enhanced content with more examples </li></ul><ul><li>Adding classes on mobile and location-based marketing, diversity and inclusion </li></ul>
  35. 36. Best practices <ul><li>Review internal and external trends to develop a curriculum that is both structured and scalable </li></ul><ul><li>Identify and engage motivated speakers </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage executive sponsors </li></ul>
  36. 37. Best practices <ul><li>Show lots of examples </li></ul><ul><li>Utilize free on-campus resources </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage existing communications vehicles for promotion </li></ul>
  37. 38. Best practices <ul><li>Ask satisfied participants to recommend to peers </li></ul><ul><li>Consider participant feedback to make changes mid-stream </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage existing professional development </li></ul>
  38. 39. Best practices <ul><li>Include outside agencies/freelancers </li></ul><ul><li>Secure comfortable venues but avoid classroom sets – choose horseshoe or small tables </li></ul>
  39. 40. Best practices <ul><li>Offer simulcast sessions for off-campus participants </li></ul><ul><li>Offer each class at least twice </li></ul><ul><li>Reward participants with official accreditation </li></ul>
  40. 41. Questions? <ul><li>Cecelia Crow </li></ul><ul><li>Brand Marketing Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Virginia Tech </li></ul><ul><li>Virginia Tech </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>@ceceh1 </li></ul><ul><li>Linkedin.com/in/ceceliacrow </li></ul>