Four Steps to Better COVID-19 Era Brand Ambassadors

Some in the spirits and wine industry state that marketing money is being spent in totally different ways than planned in Q1. We’re providing four steps to better COVID-19 era brand ambassadors.

After all, the on-premise channel for brand-building has taken a big hit.

Forbes reported on June 16th that up to 85% of independent restaurants could close permanently without federal assistance.

I propose that spirits ambassadors need new tools.

I’ll define spirits ambassador as follows:

  1. A contracted individual sampling at a retail account
  2. A salaried sales rep
  3. A distributor sales rep authorized to implement some activation program for the brand and finally,
  4. A brand ambassador who has an affiliation with the brand but no formal relationship.
What will suppliers likely do? I can predict with almost 100% certainty what will happen. They won’t do much that leads to four steps to better COVID-19 era brand ambassadors.

Brands will continue to do what they’ve always done.

They will hire agencies to do social media work without measurement of what happens at the cash register of key accounts.

Brands will lean in on distributors to continue to grow sales out of 25% fewer accounts due to the contraction of on-premise accounts.

Suppliers will spend money on marketing plans, some even digital, where there is no attempt to build a relationship with the end user consumer.

So what is a brand that wants to grow to do? How might they take four steps to better COVID-19 era brand ambassadors?

Step One: Identify Your Current Best Ambassadors

Who are your be contracted individuals sampling at a retail account?

Do you have a salaried sales rep superstar that’s hitting it out of the park?

Is there a distributor sales rep authorized to implement some activation program for the brand that just seems to be getting better numbers than others?

Finally, have you recognized brand ambassadors who have an affiliation with the brand but no formal relationship? Example? A customer who is more engaged on your social channels than any other or who has more social reach than anyone else? Will you take four steps to better COVID-19 era brand ambassadors?

Step Two: Identify Your Current Best Customers

How is your best customer defined? What is your key metric for measuring that customer or client? If you don’t have systems in place to measure these key performance metrics you should.

  • Client/Customer Acquisition Costs
  • Average Spend
  • Average Frequency of Spend
  • Service Costs/Repair or Service Frequency Costs
  • Average Revenue Per Purchase
  • Average Profit Per Purchase or Engagement

Implementations in Step Two:

Step Three: Equip your ambassadors with new tools
  • Do this first. Determine What May be Allowed by Law

What is meant by new tools? With the on-premise channel in fade mode, what are you doing to maximize other opportunities?

Are you equipping your contracted in-store sampling staff or agencies with great training, media, hashtags, social media support, and appropriate time to staff up to meet your calender’s demands for tastings?

Does your superstar sales rep have the authority to pull the trigger on certain actionable items and promo spends?

If they know what’s legal and they know what their budgets are as well as their targets, are you in the way or helping?

If you could spend $5.00 to $9.00 per bottle to help them sell your high-end product and that spend be contingent upon a true bottle sale to a new customer, would that superstar be empowered?

The distributor sales rep who knows the market, and has the trust of her accounts is a significant relationship.

The tools they need?

Easy to use and demonstrate technology allowing them to share your product compliantly with bartenders, GM’s, and store owners may be a cool way to help them grow your brand.

Are you providing true digital activation strategies in the age of COVID -19? Are you in the market physically holding your own tastings, events, and meetings?

Amazingly, I know one rep that literally works markets so well for the brands he’s repped that all the distributors had to do was take the order.

Incredibly, the most powerful brand ambassador in your supply chain is the one you don’t even know. You don’t pay them. They actually pay you.

Nearly 100% of all brands are ignoring the most important brand ambassadors they have. The drinker of their spirit. It’s a tragedy.

Importantly, what are the tools for this individual? Acknowledgment. Community. Merchandise. Recognition on blogs.

Shared Spirits provides tech that allows them to share the brand, i.e. your spirit, with their connections.

Finally, empower them with campaigns they become a part of on your behalf. Shared Spirits knows how to help you leverage these ambassadors. And we also know how to identify and recruit them.

Step Four: Launch Virtual Immediately

And finally, Virtual Events. There is power in a properly curated event.

(Case Study) Shared Spirits recently moved 48 bottles of one winery’s brand on one evening from one key on-premise account with a virtual event. By the way, it was a ticketed event. $167.00 for the ticket.

Furthermore, a series of national events is being planned. These are ticketed and feature national brands.

If any of these areas are a concern or viewed as an opportunity by your team, we’d love to chat. Schedule a time for a call or a demo of what we do here!

Sherman Mohr serves as CEO and Co-Founder of Shared Spirits Marketing. Shared Spirits is a tech-enabled spirits, wine, and beer marketing firm.