As a marketer or communications professional creating script for street teams and brand ambassadors, it is important to not to listen to the voices in your head. In the realm of experiential marketing the communications strategy that works in speaking to a consumer through copy or voice over rarely works. It is an entirely different animal when this messaging is delivered on the street (so to speak) in a human-to-human scenario. That is to say, what sounds good in your head and the monologue conversation that you have with yourself when writing street-level communications generally won't work in engaging consumers when they're standing in front of a brand ambassador.
Often, we receive lengthy communications documents that blur the lines between key messages, product knowledge and rebuttal management. In some cases we've received a three or four page script with flow diagrams and five to seven key messages blatantly and uncomfortably knitted into the verbiage. Most of them start with phrases like "Hi, how are you today?" Or, "may I have a moment of your time - both of which are conversation killers in the world of street-level communications.
Here are eight things to consider when writing communications to be used by brand ambassadors in human-to-human scenarios.
1. Be Bright and Be Brief
Endless amounts of data suggest that in North America the attention span of most adults is less than 15-seconds; some data is as low as 9-seconds. Always err on the low side, and recommend writing a script with one or two lines to engage the consumer in under 9-seconds. Also consider foot speed - are you trying to talk to a consumer that is out for a casual stroll around a shopping mall, or a busy morning commuter on their way to work.
2. Avoid Conversation Killers
This means avoiding fluffy content like "Hi, how are you today?" or, "may I have a moment of your time?" Come in hot and propose an offer to the consumer right off the top! Avoid opening with a question, and - instead - phrase it as a proposition. This may seem counter-intuitive in some cases, but asking a consumer "would you like?" Versus, "here, take [this]," can affect engagement metrics substantially.
3. Less is More
When consulting with a client on writing street-level communications, we generally work to get to two or three key messages and a single call to action. This is to say, everything that you want to communicate to the consumer needs to be out in one to three breaths.
4. You Cannot Force a Conversation
Although tracking conversations and (meaningful) verbal consumer responses is a great metric, you cannot force a conversation. Writing a script that includes a dialogue flow to say X if the consumer says Y, otherwise say Z, doesn't work. Assume that no one wants to talk to your brand ambassadors. The goal is to imprint key messages and a call-to-action in the shortest amount of time possible. This isn't to say that the conversation isn't dynamic, Writing and training on product knowledge and rebuttal management is completely different than writing script to engage a consumer.
5. Free Dollars
Bottom line, consumers love free. Obviously, this is very easy when running a sampling campaign, but also consider how it can be included into informational or awareness campaigns. Consider value alignment; a takeaway almost always has value to a consumer, and it is a great way to commence the engagement. Consumers also love fame! We will save this for another time, but we have had great success in attracting consumer attention to an installation using a camera crew (camera operator, microphone operator, and director)... Even if it's not rolling.
6. Time is the Consumer's Currency
We mentioned that sometimes we receive scripts that will be three pages long. Don't be shocked to know that generally they go back to the client for approval with no more than five to seven lines of dialogue. What is the most common rebuttal in street-level engagement? "Sorry, I don't have time." Time is your customers' currency. And if they stop, they are paying your brand ambassador to receive your message; so make it good.
7. Do the Math
Let's say you have two brand ambassadors on the street for 60-minutes and you're expecting 120 engagements in that period. Lets also say that the script takes the brand ambassador 90-seconds to get out of their mouth. That is to say that within 60 minutes an ambassador will only be able to actually be able to deliver the content 40 times. Shorten the script, or hire more ambassadors.
8. Testing... Testing... 1. 2. 3.
Testing your script for propensity to engage and response is very important. And don't test it in your head. Use real life, conversational scenarios with test subjects from your target demography. In some cases, we might test one line of script, saying essentially the same thing, phrased five or six different ways before submitting it back to the client for approval.
The reality is that in some cases, writing three or four lines of script to engage a consumer can be just as difficult and require just as much testing as writing copy for a national ad campaign. Consumer response or call to action is still the goal,
Looking for more information on sticking your campaign at the street level? We're always up for a good chat!