How to Cultivate Brand Ambassadors - positiveequation.com

How to Cultivate Brand Ambassadors

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When a 2-year-old business launches during the pandemic, sells millions of dollars in products and attracts more than 2,000 brand ambassadors reaching a collective 20 million people every single month, you know they’re onto something.

Morgan Lerner, the CEO, and Co-Founder of GoNanas (the #1 banana bread mix in the world) does it all – from strategy to sales, to product development. I am SO impressed with how Morgan runs her company while making time to cultivate a genuine appreciation for their thousands of brand ambassadors.

If you’ve ever wondered whether a brand ambassador program makes sense for your organization, this is the episode for you!

This episode is presented by LoudCrowd, the social CRM where you can organize social tags, build a curated library of content, and segment UGC growth programs. Whether focused on spreading a movement, growing customer loyalty or growing your fan base, there is a UGC strategy for any organization! Learn more and sign up for a 10-day free trial here. 

Starting GoNanas and outsourcing to a small team

Morgan quickly achieved success with GoNanas’ “better for you” baked goods, most notably their delicious banana bread mix that blew up in popularity during the peak of the COVID pandemic.

As they grew, there was more on her plate and priorities had to shift. She remembers answering Instagram DMs for hours every day, (absolutely loving it by the way), but it wasn’t the most practical use of her time.

They now have an employee who is super tapped into the influencer community who helps with influencer outreach, support for customer service, and another team member who helps with admin and day-to-day projects that come up.

What’s even more amazing is some of these hires came to them directly. While no one you hire is going to match the exact level of love and compassion you have for your organization, there are people out in the world who are highly engaged and craving the opportunity to be a part of the culture you’re building.

Outsourcing has given Morgan the freedom to focus on fundraising and growing their grocery store distribution (to date, GoNanas is carried in more than 2,000 grocery stores!)

Behind the scenes of GoNanas’ brand ambassador program 

The GoNanas brand ambassador program has had a tremendous impact on their growth, growing to thousands of dedicated ambassadors. Starting out small with their social media presence, it built on itself, and they make sure every single person who joins feels spotlighted and valued.

So how does it work?

Each brand ambassador receives a 10% off code that they can share with their followers, and then they receive their own 10% kickback on any sales they were responsible for. In addition, they get their own discount code to use on their own orders, along with early access to GoNanas’ limited edition drops.

Something beautiful about their program is how inclusive it is. There are micro-influencers in the program with just a few hundred followers, and some with up to a few million. There are Moms talking about their products, foodies, and even more traditional lifestyle influencers.

To learn more about their ambassador program, you can apply here on their website.

When you’re ready to scale, you need more than an Excel spreadsheet 

Juggling thousands of engaged ambassadors can feel like a daunting task, especially when you want to ensure each community member feels uplifted. Morgan went from an Excel spreadsheet to purchasing software from our partner LoudCrowd to add structure for their incentives and really build it for scale.

As she says in the episode, “Excel is great, but you can’t do everything with it.”

LoudCrowd helps her measure their ROI. What content is doing well? How many posts and impressions have been received in a month? You can create programs and even filter your data, separating the results of your macro-influencers vs. your micro-influencers.

Depending on the month, about 20-30% of GoNanas’ total sales are derived from their ambassadors, and there’s very little turnover. As a business, retention is one of its focuses. Though they have a pretty flexible program, not everyone can commit to regular posting. Putting the community first has been Morgan’s secret to success.

The beauty in their program is that it essentially runs itself. Morgan is excited to continue scaling it, but it’s a lot less time-intensive than it used to be.

Morgan’s Ask

Morgan would love to hear your feedback about her products! She said she likes to hear it all, as she’s not always in the “day to day” of the business.

You can share that feedback with her at morgan@eatgonanas.com or on Instagram at @go_nanas in the DMs.

Notable Quotes from Morgan

“We’ve had to outsource certain things. We have someone who helps us with customer service for example and answering our DMs. I used to do that for hours on end every day, which I loved. I had a really strong pulse with our customer, which helped so much. And that’s a challenge – as you scale, how do you maintain that pulse? I’m not in the emails every day. I hop in the DMs to see, but it’s harder. There’s challenges as you scale, but we outsource things because we had to prioritize elsewhere.”

 

“If a brand doesn’t build loyalty and doesn’t build that connection, you just don’t have the same power.”

Resources & Links

Head to LoudCrowd to benchmark your UGC performance and sign up for a 10-day free trial!

Shop GoNanas delicious banana bread mixes on their website and follow them on Instagram at @go_nanas. You can connect with Morgan at morgan@eatgonanas.com or on Instagram at @morgan.lerner.

Check out my NEW $27 mini-course, Visible Reach In A Week. In 30 minutes, you’ll learn how to create a $3 a day ad campaign that will drive brand awareness with your supporters.

Check out some of Morgan’s favorite people to follow: fitness influencer @aubrewinters, @healthygirlkitchen for amazing recipes, and @oat.haus, a female-founded company that makes delicious granola butter.

Want to make Missions to Movements even better? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram. Be sure to tag @positivequation so I can connect with you.

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