Accelerator programs have become quite popular in recent years as a way to accelerate the growth of new companies. Typically, when a company is accepted into an accelerator program, the company is provided with mentorship, training, and often additional financing. The idea is to take a company that shows promise and growth, and accelerate that growth.
Clubhouse has taken an interesting spin on accelerator programs and the social audio app has created one for its users. In this week’s edition of Monday’s Marketing Minute, I briefly mentioned a new Creator Accelerator Program that Clubhouse is launching. In short, the program is designed to take promising creators (room as well as club hosts), and give them the tools they need to accelerate the growth of their rooms and clubs. This help and support can come in several forms:
- Audio equipment to improve the quality of the shows
- Creative and strategic instruction from Clubhouse’s team
- Helping creators find guests for their shows
- Helping creators design and create promotional materials
- Helping creators promote their shows both on and off Clubhouse
- Providing a monthly stipend to creators and helping to match them with brands on potential sponsorships, etc.
Overall, I think this is a fabulous idea, and it will go a long way toward further strengthening the loyalty that Clubhouse users already have for the social audio app.
What About A Word of Mouth Accelerator Program?
So this got me to thinking: If Clubhouse can create an accelerator program for its users, why can’t your company create one for its customers? What if your company created a Word of Mouth Accelerator Program? A Word of Mouth Accelerator Program would take customers who are already creating word of mouth around and about your brand, and it would accelerate their efforts.
Here’s an example: Let’s say Tim is a tech blogger, and a fan of Hewlett Packard products, and owns an HP laptop, which he loves. Tim’s blog is called Technically Speaking, where he writes about the tech industry and covers emerging products and technologies. While Tim loves his blog, it’s pretty much a weekend project for him, as he has a full-time job that takes most of his time during the week. When he has time on the weekends, he will write a new post or do a product review. He typically writes 2-3 posts a month.
Although Tim doesn’t have the time to create content regularly, his posts and YouTube videos where he reviews new products have developed a small following of fans who enjoy his style and delivery. And who identify him as an ‘HP fanboy’.
Tim would be an ideal candidate for a Word of Mouth Accelerator Program. He is already creating content that promotes the HP brand, and his content has proven to be popular with his audience. His audience also understands that he loves the HP brand, and as a result his audience has a more favorable impression of HP.
If HP launched a Word of Mouth Accelerator Program, here’s some of the ways they could help Tim:
- Give Tim access to a design team that will help Tim brand his content across all his content channels, including his blog, YouTube channel, and all social media platforms he uses
- Work with Tim to give him access to new products so he can review them on his blog. HP likely has a program now for press and publications to give them access to new products for reviews, so they could easily add Tim to this program
- Give Tim a new HP laptop and all the audio and visual equipment he needs to create better content
- Give Tim access to a Virtual Assistant who will work with Tim to schedule social media posts, maintain his content channels, and help with the content creation process
- Work with Tim to connect him to HP’s SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) to secure interviews for both his blog and YouTube channels, or to simply provide advice on the tech content he creates
- Work with Tim and HP’s partners to help secure sponsors for Tim’s content across all channels
All of these steps together would work to accelerate Tim’s growth and his ability to create content. It would also deepen his loyalty to the HP brand, so as his audience grows, that audience will be further exposed to the HP brand. In fact, as Tim’s audience grows, it’s easy to see a point at which Tim decides to quit his day-job and become a full-time content creator. Sponsored by HP.
In short, a Word of Mouth Accelerator Program would take Tim’s limited ability to create positive word of mouth around and about the HP brand, and accelerate it. If you imagine taking such a program and having say 10 content creators, it’s easy to see how your brand could quickly amplify the positive word of mouth that these customers create about your brand. As the Word of Mouth Accelerator Program grows, you will have more content creators applying, and more promising candidates to choose from. Which further guarantees the success of the program.
Wait, isn’t this just a Brand Ambassador Program?
A Word of Mouth Accelerator Program would be similar to a traditional Brand Ambassador Program in such regards, but not the same. Remember that a brand ambassador program benefits your company in four main ways:
- By increasing brand promotion
- As a reputation management tool
- By helping with customer service and support
- By increasing customer feedback
A Word of Mouth Accelerator Program would help generate more promotion for your brand. So it could be a standalone initiative, or it could live within a larger brand ambassador program.
If you think about it, a traditional brand ambassador program has always been a way to accelerate certain behaviors that your customers are already engaging in.
For instance, happy customers are already promoting your brand. They are already defending your brand to other customers. They are already proactively helping other customers with support, and they are already soliciting and giving feedback to your company. A brand ambassador program is simply a way to give them better tools and support from the brand in order to accelerate their efforts.
A Word of Mouth Accelerator Program works on the same strategy. It takes a form of behavior (creating promotion for the brand via Word of Mouth) that’s beneficial to the brand, and accelerates it.
I love the idea of a Word of Mouth Accelerator Program as a way to support customers who are already creating positive Word of Mouth for your brand, and to give them the tools and support to accelerate their efforts.