Spotting the Untapped Opportunity

We knew that the tremendous goodwill of our enormous fan base could be a powerful marketing vehicle for Brainshark, if only we could harness it.

Our advocates could have a huge impact in brand awareness and lead generation, but we didn’t know what to expect. So we decided to test it out. We built the Brainshark Champion program.

 

Brainshark Champion Logo

Fast Forward… To Results

Its impact has been felt across several departments:

106% boost in Twitter activity by customers and employees. In addition there was a multiplier effect.

Social Media

4x as many opt-in reference customers
(from under 20 to 87)

Sales References

Immediate recruitment of 25 beta customers, up from only a couple

Early Access Product Recruiting

15% customer response rate (compared with 2% through traditional means)

Customer Research & Surveys

Our champion program now boasts:

 

* 249 active customer advocates

 

* Involvement from Brainshark and Slideshark customer bases

 

* Cross-functional participation from Brainshark’s employees

 

* A thriving community ready to help

 

Social Connections

Assembling the Team

team

(Left to right) Allison, Joan, Sabrina

 

To achieve these results, we knew we’d need to pull in talent from different parts of the Brainshark organization.

Building a customer program can not be done through marketing alone – it requires the buy-in and participation of as many customer-facing roles as possible. So that’s what we did. This is our meta-team:

* Allison, Customer Advocacy Lead

* Joan, VP of Marketing & Advocacy

* Sabrina, Employee Advocacy Lead

Brainshark Champion Program Recruitment

We started the program with a few hand-selected customers – people who had already provided us with testimonials or case studies. We quickly learned that the key to rallying our customers was to nurture relationships from within our community and ask them to respond to simple, social requests that are easy to do.

Once we got going, we then branched out to different audiences:

 

* Most active users

* People sharing social content

* Employee nominations

* Community leaders and influencers

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Our Key Customer Advocates

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Creating Champions

BrainsharkInsideAdvocateHub

 

We put in place the Brainshark Champion Program using AdvocateHub from Influitive. This provided our customers a central meeting place, and gave us the tools to engage and reward them for their participation.

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Our customers are business people. We discovered that they found value in professional benefits. So by providing them opportunities to network with peers, participate in educational events, or even show off their skills, they became active and willing participants in our community.

Getting Our Employees Involved

Early in 2013, we expanded our program to include Brainshark employees. We set up cross-promotional challenges between them. So if we wanted to ask customers to participate in something, we offered employees the chance to be rewarded if they found a customer to participate in that activity.

Brainshark_EmployeeChallengeSister

Brainshark_CustomerChallengeSister

Our employee program was an immediate success

Now We Are in Demand

With the advocate program in full swing, we’re finding more and more unexpected benefits.

For example, our customers are becoming more masterful with the product, which translates into stronger brand advocacy. And that is made public.

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Empowering the Most Powerful Audiences

The Brainshark Champion Program has let us capture the positive energy of our loyal users and project it back into the marketplace. Its effects have been felt in sales, marketing, social media, and product. And we are only just beginning.