For those of you who want to know more about what an evangelist is in a company and what their role is, I recommend you get a coffee, make yourself comfortable, and resume reading this post.
Before we jump into the idea of what’s the role of a brand or chief evangelist in a company, let’s see what’s the evangelist definition:
A brand or chief evangelist has the other person’s best interests at heart “Try this because it will help you.”
In order to understand where the idea of evangelist came from we have to read the following Bible verse (that’s right, it’s from the Bible):
“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
If we take a look at this verse, we can see exactly what the role of an evangelist is (and I don’t mean from a religious point of view, but from a marketing perspective) and what they should do.
Translated into marketing language it would be something like this:
“Promote your brand everywhere you go in the world.”
Let’s further dissect the verse above and explain it better, so we could get an easier understand of it.
A. “Go into all the world…”
Translated, for me this means one thing: “Start working and stop standing in one place.”
Because there are too many evangelists who think that they can do their job from behind a computer or a mobile phone. I think an evangelist who represents a brand and wants to promote it as much as possible needs to get out of the comfort zone (yeah, the comfort zone cliché) and straight into the streets. But please don’t imagine a crazy person shouting in the streets about a respective brand and harassing passersby with brand promises (hmmm … a brand evangelist doing this would be really interesting).
So whether we are talking about public transportation, conferences or other events where you could find a possible target or whether we’re talking about shopping at the market, an evangelist must go out into the world and feel its pulse.
I remember attending an event were the speaker said that he takes the trolley or the metro every day just to be able to feel the target audience he is addressing. Because if you don’t know them in the simplest and most natural form, how can you be able to sell them a product?
B. “…and preach the Gospel…”
This could be the answer to many people’s questions: “What does a Brand Evangelist do?”, “What is his occupation?”, “What is his role in a company?”.
Every time someone asks me “What do you do at Bannersnack?” I answer with the following question “Have you heard of Bannersnack before?”, and if the answer is “No” then my conclusion is “That’s what I do. I take Bannersnack to places it’s never been before”. But if the answer is “Yes”, then our ongoing discussion may take on another beautiful turn.
I don’t think an evangelist in a company has a job with points and frames that they’re supposed to check every month. Why? Because being an evangelist in a company is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. And when you already have a lifestyle, it cannot be transposed into a particular job description.
We can talk about different types of evangelists in a company:
1. Chief Evangelist
He’s the one that promotes the brand itself without having a particular role inside the company. The evangelist promotes the brand as it is and tries to get it involved in the community as much as possible. If you take a look at Guy Kawasaki, who is Chief Evangelist Canva, he promotes Canva through what he does every day: content on social media, speaker at various events, discussions in certain interviews. Kawasaki does what he does on a daily basis, but includes the Canva as brand in those actions.
2. Brand Evangelist
So what does this evangelist means?
The role of a Brand Evangelist resembles the one of a Chief Evangelist, but with the added role of protector of the brand (i.e. a sort of Brand Manager). What this brand evangelist does is promoting the respective brand in its own form and ensuring that the brand is not stolen nor taking other forms (wrong logo misspelled text, etc.) than the way it should be when it is advertised on different platforms.
3. Product Evangelist
Or as you may know tech evangelist. This kind of evangelist is similar to a chief evangelist combined with a brand evangelist, but adding the role of product promotion from a technical standpoint. I.e. the target of this Evangelist is represented by the communities that speak tech and who receive the “good news” from the brand in question.
I’ve seen other Evangelist roles that some have taken upon themselves as well; for example Brian Fanzo calls himself a Change Evangelist. Brian’s role is to help companies change their traditional modus operandi in a format that he simply calls “The How and Why.”
”If you understand the how and the why then the what is easy to fix.”
Therefore, the role of an evangelist should not be reduced to a specific type of work. I think they should build on that passion both inside the company and outside it. Moreover, they should find different reasons and ways to take the brand where it has never been before.
C. ” …to every creature.”
Personally, I wouldn’t really agree with this part when it comes to evangelism marketing. Because one of the biggest problems you will face as an evangelist is that you will be around people who don’t want anything to do with your product. What do you do then? Fight and shoot and hope they start using it in the end? Of course not.
You can convert those who are willing to listen, to see what your product is good for and what they could use it for. And with those who are converted by another product you could talk to them about the respective product, so as to gather news and insights that might help you in improving your product.
But beyond all that, I think a good evangelist should know how to distinguish between times when he should be talking about the brand, and times when he shouldn’t.
Moreover, it should develop a passion/a special hobby that brings him closer to the people. When an evangelist talks only about the brand he represents, he becomes annoying and not at all appealing to have a normal discussion with. So the best bet for this Evangelist is to know how to distinguish between good and inopportune moments.
Also, an evangelist is a very good listener as well, who knows both his community and the community of his brand. And he should intervene whenever he has the opportunity to help the community and lend a helping hand.
It often happens that a user of a brand’s services fails to pay the subscription for a month (let’s say that we’re talking about a brand that offers a service through a monthly subscription). In this case the evangelist should think of talking to the management team about providing that client with free service for a few months. This way, the client will see that the brand has seen his need and will in turn become an evangelist who will promote the product in his community. It’s just a simple example, but the situation can happen to anyone.
Here’s what being an evangelist in a company means and how one should behave when it comes to their everyday work.
Next time we’ll talk about the struggles evangelists face today.
For those of you who are curious about “evangelism marketing”, what it means and why today’s companies should start developing this type of strategy as soon as possible, I recommend you read this article.