September 02, 2010
Build a Reputation—Build a Business
by Richard Wright, President, CEO, AdvoCare International
Reputation is everything in the game plan for success.
Behind every successful business is a reputation of excellence. How would you grade yours? Do you know or care? You should.
Your reputation is everything. But what does “reputation” really mean? The CEO and founder of Amazon defines reputation as “what people say about you when you have left the room.” What do people say about your company when you leave the room?
Reputations take years to build but seconds to lose. At AdvoCare, we believe reputation is about everything a company does—from the products it sells, to each marketing campaign and the attitude of every employee. That’s why we place such a strong emphasis on it.
As an award-winning member of the Direct Selling Association, AdvoCare is reputation-driven and truly believes reputation is everything. That’s the reason we go the extra mile to ensure our products not only work, but they are safe through our Scientific & Medical Advisory Board and Informed-Choice certification.
The Key to Sustained Success
A great product is good, but it’s not enough. Consistently building the reputation of your company is a key to sustained success.
Coming into this year we found ourselves in a place of great momentum. Our organization was on fire. Our world-class products and proven marketing plan are a big reason for this. At the same time, we believed that programs, endorsers and events could further awareness in the marketplace and build our reputation in addition to our products and opportunity.
We want people talking about our company. Plain and simple. So we looked for ways to get the conversation started and keep it going. Elevating awareness in this way became a part of our strategy.
We decided to lead with reputation in all aspects of our business. From the face-to-face relationships that are the foundation of direct selling to the limitless number of fans and friends we can reach through social media, people were going to learn the name AdvoCare.
Be Bold—Turn Chances into Opportunities
In December 2009 we took a bold step. By being the title sponsor of the 2009 V100™ Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., AdvoCare was the first-ever direct selling company to sponsor a postseason college bowl game. The game set records for attendance and viewership, and everyone who bought a ticket or tuned in learned more about AdvoCare. This was historic and something we knew would support our vision of being a household name. It was, and still is, a proud moment for us.
As part of our title sponsor efforts, we initiated a tour featuring our award-winning AdvoBus, with stops at college football games across the United States.
We also introduced television commercials that aired during the national broadcast of the game and a campaign featuring our endorsers and two impact products. “I want Spark” and “I want Slam” Web portals were created for these products. Free samples drove people to the AdvoCare website and into our distributor leads program. More than 65,000 leads were generated through the “I want” campaign.
We’ll return as title sponsor for this year’s game, to be played on Monday, Dec. 27, and televised nationally on ESPN2.
In March 2010 we announced New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees as our first-ever National AdvoCare Spokesperson. To help make a difference, we’ve continued to ally with his foundation—The Brees Dream Foundation.
We also continue to add to our list of high-profile endorsers, which include world-class athletes and professional entertainers. Earlier this year we announced a partnership with Women of Faith. AdvoCare had a presence at events across the nation in the spring and August. This opened the door to a new audience, giving us new opportunity to build our reputation and further our goal to make AdvoCare a household name.
Where else did we look to get the word out and make a difference? Community social responsibility is huge for us. In January we kicked off our fundraising efforts as the Platinum Sponsor for Operation Homefront—a nonprofit organization that supports our troops and their families. People identify with what this organization is trying to achieve. They align with its goals. And, they ally themselves with those who are willing to help.
I tell you about each of these efforts because you, too, can fuel growth by getting involved and being a company who cares, a company with a reputation for giving back.
The results of leading with reputation can be intangible, but I’ll tell you, they are very real.
AdvoCare is proof positive that these efforts can and do matter. We’ve experienced double-digit growth in sales and recruiting compared to the same time frame in the previous year. And, more people know the AdvoCare name today than at any time in our history. We continue to grow today.
So how do you measure the bottom line? The results are apparent in the organization and resonate in your salesforce. When you see a rise in momentum, sales and recruiting, you know. It’s more than numbers—it is momentum, excitement and trust from our field organization that fuels the tremendous growth of AdvoCare.
While we are looking for new and improved ways to turn up the volume, our sales organization is able to remain focused on the basics of our business. While we go look for opportunities to make the company a household name, our distributors can succeed with the fundamentals.
When you build a positive reputation, not only do you build confidence in your field organization, making it that much easier to share the name of your company, but also confidence and respect with your customers.
Our distributors have a better chance for success when they go share AdvoCare with someone who says, “I’ve heard of AdvoCare. Isn’t Drew Brees your spokesperson?” When we’re opening the door for our distributors through brand awareness, they have time to focus on what this business is all about—building relationships.
So, what do you think people say about your company when you leave the room? Would you stake your reputation on it?
After all, reputation is everything.
Richard Wright is President and CEO of AdvoCare International.