To maximize your chances of success, you want to partner up with folks willing to serenade you to the lyrics of Taylor Swift’s End Game, i.e. someone with a big reputation who wants to be part of your A-Team.
But the A-Team is not for everyone who turns up for the tryouts. So, how do you discern?
Here’s a list of four steps you can follow.
Define Your Goals and Ideal Member Profile
As you set out on your champions journey, you should create a foundation in three areas. First, the goals for your program, which is what will help you ensure the program aligns with overall company strategy and goals (and will help you get budget). The second is defining your ideal member profile. And the third is nailing down what’s in it for them.
Keep in mind that these areas area equally important, and keep your planning in balance. Additionally, even though we’ve listed them as if there’s a linear order, the reality is that you might first start with the ideal member and build from there. Or you might start with a specific business need, and then explore how what you can offer to certain people will help move the needle.
Defining Program Goals
Before diving headfirst into your Champions Program, it's important to define your goals. Your program goals should map to your company’s overall strategy.
A helpful framework for exploring and assessing potential areas of impact is Phil Leggetter's AAARRRP framework, which takes into account the full customer lifecycle.
- Awareness: Are you looking to spread the word about your product and make it more visible? Do you want to increase awareness with folks in your current target audience, or are you looking to expand?
- Acquisition: Do you want to attract new users and increase signups this quarter?
- Activation: Are you focused on helping users successfully activate and get the most out of your product?
- Retention: Want to keep your users engaged and coming back for more?
- Referral: Do you want to encourage users to share their positive experiences and refer others to your product?
- Revenue: Looking to increase monetization and drive more revenue for your business?
- Product: Want to involve your users in shaping and improving your product through feedback and collaboration?
Having a clear idea of the goal you’re trying to achieve will determine the type of champion you need and the activities you’d like them to do in partnership with your brand.
Of course, looking at the list above, you might say, “That all sounds great! Let’s do it!”, but in reality, you should pick one or two to start. Your champions’ strategy should be aligned with your team's OKRs.
For example, if your goal is for your program to help drive product activation, you might ask your champions to host virtual onboarding sessions with new users and make sure they have early access to all your beta features as early as possible. On the other hand, if you were more interested in driving awareness, your program may involve collaborating with champions on hosting meetups in important cities or delivering talks at relevant events.
Ideal Member Profile
Once you've got that figured out, create an Ideal Member Profile. Imagine the ideal person to represent your brand. What are their ideal qualities? Where do they live? How old are they? These are the people you want talking to your target customers.
One way to gain clarity on who’s your IMP is to write down your community’s positioning statement.
A positioning statement is a short articulation of who you want to be to your audience. For example
For [ audience ], community_name is [ description ] that [ benefit ] because [ proof ] so that [ payoff ].
You can read more about how to craft a community positioning statement here.
Outlining your Goals and Ideal Member Profile will help you frame conversations and engage with the right individuals.
💜 Use Orbit to identify ideal members
Orbit assigns Love and Reach scores based on a Community Member’s history of activities and connections within the community. You can leverage these rankings to spot relevant candidates for your program. For instance, show me only the members who have submitted three or more PR requests over the last 90 days.
What’s in it for them?
The best programs create more value than they capture, so you should work to define program benefits from the very beginning. Otherwise, your program risks becoming something that extracts more than it gives, which will hamper growth and generally make people feel icky.
- Access to key people
- Progress their career
- Make friends
- Access to knowledge
As you can see these motivations go beyond t-shirts and stickers and get to the more emotional and cognitive benefits champions programs can confer on members.
Do some discovery
At this point, it’s probably wise to do some discovery with potential program members, ideally those that represent your Ideal Member Profile. Do your ideal members care about the value you can provide? Do you need to refine your ideal profile based on what you’ve learned? If the value seems compelling to then, what kind of contribution are they ready and willing to undertake?