In my last role at Sysomos, I was a brand evangelist. But, what does a brand or tech evangelist do for an organization?
An evangelist is someone who typically sits inside the organization’s marketing arm. An evangelist’s role, succinctly, is to raise awareness in the marketplace of why the company/brand/organization is needed and important. A brand evangelist is someone who has established themselves as an expert or trusted advisor in your particular industry and believes your product/service so passionately that they are thrilled to promote it to others.
This promotion, often called evangelism marketing, can be executed via written word (blog posts, case studies, 1-pagers, thought leadership pieces), in person via speeches and presentations or virtually via webinar. So, much in a way an evangelist in the church sense is sent out into the world to tell the good word of that faith – tech or brand evangelists are sent out to help establish the case of why your organization and your products/services are needed.
Simply put, evangelists generate and fan the flames of word-of-mouth marketing.
I was fortunate at Sysomos because, as an experienced agency and brand marketer, I could walk into a room of marketers and tell them why social data is valuable to their market. I spoke to marketers in the home improvement industry, at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications, industry events such as Social Media Week London and so on.
As an evangelist for Sysomos, I had no sales quota and could level with prospective and current customers. I described how their digital marketing efforts could be aided and empowered by social data and social analytics. I provided new ideas and asked “did you think of doing it *this* way”, based on my industry experience.
Also, I was empowered to be honest with my audience. If a particular use case didn’t apply to a Sysomos product’s core strength, I would tell them that, honestly. Then, I recommended an alternative solution, even if it meant suggesting a competitor. A quality evangelist will do that, and be supported by his/her management in doing so.
Brand evangelists also give customers a voice inside the organization
Another job function of an evangelist is he/she serves as the customer’s voice to the highest levels of a company, brand or organization. As a representative of the community who’s out on the marketplace meeting with current and prospective customers of the business, it’s important to take these learnings back to support, sales, marketing and product teams. I’ve found that some of the best product ideas for come over coffees and meals with customers. When the feedback is acted upon, it makes the customer feel valued and loved.
Even if the feedback received is, “Hey Andrew – Thanks for letting me know about the problem you’re having with that report – I told our data team and they’re going to fix it in the next release cycle.”
In this exchange, the customer feels valued and paid attention to. And that customer is likely to stick around longer than the average one.
It should be known that an effective evangelism program is scalable as well. By using webinars, gated written pieces to drive leads and email drip campaigns, evangelist-created assets can build an audience an exponentially scalable number.
Does your organization have a brand evangelist?
A strong brand evangelism program will establish strong, fruitful relationships with your current and prospective customers. By looking out for and catering to the present client base, they’ll feel valued. Also, when potential clients are evaluating your company to conduct business with, they’ll see your existing efforts and know that customers are listened to and appreciated.