29/09/15

On the receiving end – the art of making contact

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How you make initial contact with consumers can make or break a promotional marketing campaign. Carrie Watson, Staffing Executive at Sense, gives her five tips for success.

We’ve all been there.

Wandering through Waterloo station on the way home from work, or relaxing with friends at a summer festival and suddenly some stranger comes up to you in a bright, branded T-shirt, or perhaps even a weird costume.

The first instinct, particularly if you’re a naturally reserved Brit, is flight or fight. What happens next is crucial to the success of an experiential campaign.

As someone who manages experiential staff and has a background as a brand ambassador, when I’m on the receiving end of a promotion, I’m quite frankly beside myself to, for once, be on the consumer side. After the initial excitement is over (give it a couple of seconds) I then go on to wonder how the staff perform, particularly at this crucial point. I find myself staring at them, checking out their appearance, listening out for whether they are simply shouting: “Free drink”, or being a client’s dream by telling people exactly what they are offering and enthusiastically expressing the key messages.

Of course, if you really want to appreciate the value of great brand ambassadors and get your team performing to the max, then it’s essential to put yourself in the position of the general public or whoever your target audience is – on the receiving end. Only then will you fully appreciate the importance of making sure you get that initial contact right, as it’s key to winning over customers.

Here are some making-contact essentials:

1. Service with a smile
It’s sounds obvious, but I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been approached by promotional marketing staff who are bordering on miserable. Starting off with a smile on your face not only makes you more appealing to consumers, but helps to get you in the right positive frame of mind.

2. Polite and personable
No matter how dynamic and active the experience is you’re creating, it’s vital to always be polite and friendly when dealing with consumers and sensitive to the fact that you are intruding into their day. The only time you can stray from this is when you’re playing an actual role and the purpose is to surprise or shock, but if you’re looking to directly engage and build a meaningful conversation, politeness is everything.

3. Be the brand
Brand ambassadors are a physical extension of a brand and as such should immerse themselves in its values, ensuring that they present and respect these at all times when engaging with consumers from the first point of contact to the last.

4. Know your audience
Clearly understanding the kind of person you are engaging with is essential to make sure you initiate the conversation in the right way. If you’re on the high street with a cross section of consumers, from older people to mums with kids, then you need to be friendly, calm and very polite. In other situations, such as at music festivals, you have a licence to be louder and more familiar, reflecting your audience and the surroundings.

5. Stick to the script
Although you should tailor the key brand messages you need to deliver to the conversation and situation, it is still important to make sure you are following the agreed strategy to achieve maximum engagement and impact, and to ensure everyone is performing consistently.

 

Carrie Watson is Staffing Executive at real world marketing agency Sense.

If you have what it takes to be a member of the Sense Staff team please apply at: https://staff.senselondon.com/registration

29/09/15

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