Learn how Microsoft rolls out it’s largest brand advocacy program ever, the Windows Insider Program. I’ll be sharing lessons from their launch of this new brand advocacy program.
First the announcement itself, it’s a pre-sell:
Microsoft is launching the Windows Insider Program tomorrow.
The Windows Insider Program, where PC experts and IT Pros can get access to a technical preview of Windows 10 for desktops and laptops. Soon after, we’ll also be releasing technical previews of Windows Server and our management tools.
With the Insider program, we’re inviting our most enthusiastic Windows customers to shape Windows 10 with us. We know they’re a vocal bunch – and we’re looking forward to hearing from them.
The Windows Insider Program is intended for PC experts and IT pros who are comfortable using pre-release software with variable quality. Insiders will receive a steady stream of early builds from us with the latest features we’re experimenting with.
– Source blogs.windows.com
They’ve clearly demarcated the target customers:
For PC experts and IT pros who are comfortable using pre-release software with variable quality.
Learn about why you need barriers for a successful brand advocacy program.
The introduction to the program
The Introductory Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84NI5fjTfpQ
Let me quickly run you through the main points of the upcoming insider program. I’ve included below a small transcript of the video on the page http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/preview-coming-soon (Words in maroon are my comments.)
Windows Insider Program
We’ve designed the Tech Preview so you can see what we’re building as we’re building it and tell us what you think.
(Here they’re telling the potential brand advocates what they are going to get: A ring side view to how they are building the next version of their software.)
We hope to involve tech enthusiasts like you in our software development process over the next several months so that your feedback becomes part of the next version of Windows.
(You get a chance to see your feedback incorporated into the product, they’re Empowering you and enabling you to co-create with them.)
The tech preview is meant for PC experts who are comfortable downloading unfinished software.
(The are putting in place the requisite barriers to entry to ensure they have appropriate brand advocates.)
The first step which you might have already done is to download and install the Tech Preview…. (abbreviated)
But we’ll be updating it regularly.
As a Windows Insider, you’ll get two benefits.
- You’ll get more frequent updates with earlier but less polished software and
- You’ll have access to the Windows Feedback app from which you can send us comments directly.
(Clearly articulated benefits, early access and a way to communicate with the team.)
But one thing’s for sure: by signing up, you’ll be the first to take all of the new features out for a test drive.
—- followed by demo
And one of the areas where we’re looking for feedback in the Tech Preview is multitasking.
(Specific guidance as to where they need help from brand advocates.)
—- Followed by demo of multitasking features.
Sign up for the Tech preview at http://preview.windows.com
(Distinct microsite for this brand advocacy program which is separate from their other brand advocacy programs. A.k.a. Segmentation.)
Analysis and Comments
This is a perfect example of the RIDE framework in place to create a brand advocacy program.
First the Big O: They’ve identified their objectives:
1. To get early participation from target customers,
2. Get product tested
3. Enable massive word of mouth marketing even before the product is launched.
Rewards and Recognition:
1. They’ve promised early and frequent product updates to the brand advocates.
2. Providing early access ensures their partners and advocates have a lead over the rest of the market. That in itself is a huge reward as they get hands on with the product and a chance to be experts before others.
3. The program name itself is a recognition, if you’re selected you’re in the Windows Insider Program. For some this in itself is a reward and recognition.
The direct impact from this program is going to be multi-fold.
1. Innovation and Testing – Ideas from the field, their very customers giving direct feedback.
2. Word of Mouth Marketing – This brand advocacy program is going to lead to massive amount of word of mouth marketing for Microsoft, with customers speaking on social media, forums, blogs, articles, video demos etc. Each brand advocate in some way or the other whether in person or online is going to be speaking about this to someone else.
Discover – Identification of Brand Advocates
1. PC experts who are comfortable downloading unfinished software
The 3 E’s – Evangelize, Empower and Engage
1. They are empowering their brand advocates by promising them early access.
2. They are giving access to the Windows Feedback app from which you can send comments directly to them, thereby empowering and engaging with them.
They’ve beautifully ensured empowering and engaging, and I’m sure they have a plan to evangelize their brand advocates too.
The above is a good example of putting in place the RIDE framework.
You can learn more about it in my brand advocacy book which covers how software product companies can implement a brand advocacy program using RIDE, the 5 step brand advocacy framework.
What do you think about how they are rolling this out?
Do you think they will have a large number of participants?
Do share in the comments below.