You may have seen community members posting recently on social media that they are a part of a new trial AED Brand Ambassador Program.
Ali and our AED team wanted to take some time today to share why we made the change to let go of the traditional Creative Team model and move towards something different.
For many years we've had the pleasure of working closely with memory keepers who applied for and were welcomed onto our Creative Team after meeting criteria we had set up (the biggest one being that words were a primary piece of their memory keeping method). We are very thankful to those women who joined us as we grew this community through the sharing of projects and a love of storytelling. Many became dear friends along the way.
At the same time, the process of selecting a Creative Team was always emotionally challenging for our team to not accept all who applied. As you are likely well aware, memory keeping is so, so personal and honestly, who is to say what is "good" - especially when we one hundred percent believe that stories matter and believe in the value of storytelling as a lifestyle.
Over the last few years as the AED brand has grown and evolved, Ali has felt very passionate about welcoming, including and highlighting a wider variety of voices. As a team we have been brainstorming ways to be more inclusive in our products, our projects and in the way we approach our Creative Team. With that in mind we made the decision to do something different this year which is how the idea of a Brand Ambassador Program was born.
We are hoping to build a bigger table.
For our trial Brand Ambassador Program we reached out to a diverse group of memory keepers including people we have worked with in the past and people we haven’t. Some have been on traditional Creative Teams in the past and for others this is their first time.
A change like this doesn't happen without a lot of thought and intentionality is one of the core values of our business. When one of your values is being intentional in your decision making sometimes you can get stuck in the planning phase and never move into the implementation phase. With that in mind we initiated a soft launch of our trial Brand Ambassador Program to simply get it started knowing that we would likely make changes as we went along.
We know there will be bumps along the way. We know it will be imperfect. We know it will take time and unlearning on our part as well as within the community. We are committed to working towards something new even if we don't have it all figured out at the start.
THE VISION: WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO
- Include, embrace + highlight inspiration and ideas from a wider variety of voices within the community. We are a diverse community of individuals brought together by a shared love of memory keeping and we want to focus more on the variety of documenting styles and stories and backgrounds and life experiences.
- Depart from the traditional Creative Team model and change the narrative around these kinds of programs to make them less about highlighting individuals and more about celebrating the wider community of memory keepers.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM BRAND AMBASSADORS
- The role of a Brand Ambassador is to simply share a love of memory keeping using our product collections via tips, ideas, and the sharing of projects. Their commitment is one post per month (significantly different from what we expected in the past from our Creative Team) and they are compensated with digital products and a discount code.
- When a Brand Ambassador shares a post on Instagram that they are being compensated for they will be using the hashtag #aedbrandambassador. You can follow that hashtag on Instagram.
OUR LONG TERM GOALS FOR THIS PROGRAM
Our long term goal for this program, and what we hope to move towards in the coming years, is that anyone who wants to participate would be able to join. Before we can get to that place In we need to be able to test some things out which is why we are starting with a trial and giving ourselves the opportunity to simply see how it goes. Where we are at right now is our starting place.
As a work in progress, this trial program will be reviewed at multiple times throughout the year as we ask the following questions:
- Is this working for our community?
- Is this working for the Brand Ambassadors?
- Is this working for the AED Team?
As always, thank you for being a part of this community. Thank you for sharing your stories and valuing storytelling and creative reflection as a part of your life.