Here’s who really has my daughter excited about a $200,000 purchase decision.
My daughter Ava is about to start her senior year of high school. So this spring and summer we have toured college campuses like Goldilocks, trying to find one that is just right.
Choosing your college can be as life-altering as deciding who to marry. And as expensive as buying a house. I am expecting our costs to be between $160,000 and $200,000 for 4 years. That’s assuming Ava isn’t inspired to get a fancy pants graduate degree, which could double the cost of college, without doubling the fun.
We have taken actual tours at 6 schools. And we have done window shopping tours at 6 others. All of the campuses we have visited are roughly the same size. They are all beautiful. And they all have strong national reputations. However, one of the schools stands above the rest on Ava’s list.
But what is really driving her strong brand preference on this purchase of a potential $200,000 education is interesting.
She is not attracted to her favorite school because of the university President. Or the Chancellor. Or the Provost. (Whatever that is.) She didn’t buy the school’s t-shirt because of the Dean or because of a world-renowned professor. It’s not even the athletic director, football, basketball or track & field coach, or the politically inert mascot that excites her about this particular school.
Then Who Was It?
Ava has a strong brand preference for a specific university despite the fact that she has only met 3 people at the school.
The first is the person from the recruitment office that gave the welcome presentation. She was phenomenal. She sold me too. I wanted my daughter to go to this school to turn out like her. And I’m considering enrolling at the school myself if I find an extra quarter of a million dollars in my couch cushions.
The other 2 people that had a major impact on Ava’s brand preference were the 2 students who led her campus tour. The 2 guys, Drew and Drew (seriously), were fun and funny and friendly, and knowledgable. They ran a great 2-hour walking tour. Not only did they show us around, but they also showed us what the students on campus are like. And they were excellent ambassadors for the institution.
Who Are Your Real Brand Ambassadors?
If 2 students and the assistant director of admissions were the people who made Ava (and her parents) love one college more than the others, it begs the question, who are the real brand ambassadors in your organization?
- Who are the people in your business that really attract or repel customers?
- Who are the people in your association that make others want to join?
- Who are the members of your team that really recruit great new teammates?
- Who attracts new residents to your community?
- Who draws attendees to your event?
- Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong?
Sometimes it is a strong leader that sells an organization. But it is often a store associate, a customer service rep, a receptionist, a call center employee, or the greeter at church that makes the most important impression.
The Happy Factor.
A happy team member attracts more great teammates. The smiling face draws people to an organization, regardless of wear that face falls in the pecking order.
Pay attention to your public-facing roles. They are your magnets, your money makers, and your brand builders. They will directly impact more purchase decisions than your top dog.
But if you are the top dog, recognize that the tone you set, the expectations you bring, the system you install and the processes you preside over influence the type of people you have on the front line, their happiness, and the impressions they make on others. Your job is important. But it is most important because of its impact on the way the front line represents your brand to your most important audience.
Know who your most important brand ambassadors are. Recruit for those positions well. Train them well. Empower them to do their jobs well. And treat them right. They are the lifeblood of your business development program.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.