May 29, 2015
“A great idea executed poorly is essentially the same as a poor idea.”–Michael Fernandez, Founder, Factory 360
There are many reasons why an experiential marketing event can fail, but one of the most often overlooked aspects is staffing. An event lives and dies by its Brand Ambassadors. They greet consumers, guide them through the experience and, if all goes well, send them on their way wanting to purchase the product. Any misstep along the way can lose a potential consumer.
This is why Factory 360 never uses 3rd party staffing agencies. All 20,000+ Brand Ambassadors in our internal network are direct hires that have been scouted, interviewed and trained by our employees to ensure we always have the best fit for the brand.
The logistics and needs of an experiential marketing event can change at a moment’s notice but because we don’t outsource Brand Ambassadors, we are able to instantly update and re-train our Brand Ambassadors without impeding communication. When using a staffing agency, you often meet Brand Ambassadors for the first time at the event. Even when these Brand Ambassadors are made available for advance training, it’s pretty much guaranteed that at least one person who shows up to the event will be a last minute replacement that hasn’t been trained. But with Factory 360, that is never the case.
The hiring of new Brand Ambassadors is a constant process that ensures we always have the best staff for any experiential marketing event. Our main resource for recruiting is our existing staff.
Before being hired to work a Factory 360 promo for the first time, new recruits go through an initial phone interview followed by an in person interview conducted by a local manager. Every brand will require something different in the Brand Ambassadors who represent them, but there are a few qualities that are universally required. The right staff has to be outgoing and approachable. Their job is to engage guests in a dialogue that will convert them to lifetime brand adorers. This is far from an easy task for anyone, but we excel in this regard.
When interviewing new staff, ask yourself if you would have drink with them. Do they tell interesting anecdotes about jobs they have worked in the past or simply list the brands? If they can’t engage you during the interview, they won’t do it at an experiential marketing event. It’s a good sign if you can’t get a word in. We remember during one interview, a potential Brand Ambassador talked about an extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) experiential marketing program he did the previous summer where he did not remember the talking points, but excitedly explained the difference between vegetable oil, olive oil and EVOO and how they should be used. It turns out I have been doing it wrong my entire life. We hire him for every event in St. Paul.
Between being hired for a promo and activation day, we conduct an in depth training with everyone working the event. In addition to relaying the brand information in a clear, concise and easily understandable way, here are a few training tips to consider.
- Don’t over-script. Create a general dialogue flow and highlight the points that should be made, so that each Brand Ambassador can make it their own and talk more comfortably and freely.
- Do mock interactions with one Brand Ambassador talking about the product and another pretending to be a consumer asking numerous questions.
- For extended experiential marketing activations like a sampling program, make sure all Brand Ambassadors that were trained work a promo within a few days to training to help solidify what they learned.
- Share best practices. If something is working really well for one Brand Ambassador, share this with all staff in all markets to implement immediately.
- Assign duties based on the strengths and weaknesses of the individual and, where possible, give staff the option to choose.
On activation day, create an environment where every Brand Ambassador is set up to not only succeed, but also embody the brand. Invite them to make suggestions on improvements. They are closely involved with the consumer and in the best position to know what is and isn’t working. After the rigorous recruiting and training they have endured, these are the best staff out there, so listen to them and watch an excellent event be executed to perfection.