Using communications to develop business opportunities An Amway case study
Page 4: Amway´s communication channels
There are five different communication channels.
Corporate events include specially arranged functions, such as product fairs, conferences and seminars, which distributors at different levels are invited to attend. Face-to-face communication at a range of events helps Amway and its distributors to get to know each other. They also provide an opportunity for distributors to get to know each other and are useful for relaying messages, giving advice and generating personal discussion.
Pace Setter - a reward incentive to help new and existing distributors reach the 6bonus level within three consecutive calendar months.It also encourages a balanced business, with equal amounts of retailing and sponsoring - essential for long-term success and profitability.
Direct Distributor Seminar - allows newly qualified Direct Distributors to meet the Amway Management Team, tour the UK Headquarters, attend key informative, motivational business sessions and go to the New Direct Distributor Gala Dinner.
Leadership Seminar - where distributor leaders who have achieved a target criteria set by Amway, travel for a seven day trip with compliments of Amway to some of the world's finest beach locations and hotels where they attend a number of business sessions and exchange thoughts and ideas with corporate staff.
Launch into '98 - a major annual launch of new products and services presented by a road show of events.
Participation at these events enables distributors to contribute ideas and solutions to problems encountered. The relationship between Amway and its distributors can, therefore, take place in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.
Training builds the skills and knowledge of distributors and therefore improves competence levels. For Amway, the starting point of the training process is to identify the skills and knowledge necessary for distributors to carry out their role.
Acquiring product knowledge is an important aspect of training and preparation. As Amway relies upon the personal service of its distributors and the quality of its products, it is essential that distributors are not just shown how to use products but also how to merchandise them to their best advantage.
Training may involve either Corporate or Group (Line of Sponsorship) Training on specific product brands. Distributor input into these sessions provides informative help for the management of independent businesses. Once a distributor has achieved an advanced knowledge of a specific brand, they can then receive the training and tools required via a 'Train a Trainer' session whereby they will be taught how to train their own group, therefore maximising their expertise.
Lines of sponsorship
Amway is essentially a people-based business - without people, the business cannot expand. The business of each distributor grows via new customers and through the sponsorship of new distributors.
Established distributors are involved in helping newly sponsored associates to merchandise Amway products. Distributor groups meet to discuss company procedures and their goals. The groups also discuss new product launches and promotions, the administration of their businesses and support new and existing distributors. These lines of sponsorship provide constant, face-to-face support from professional associates.
Written communication is useful as a permanent source of reference. Amway uses a range of written communications. These include:
Amagram - This magazine is mailed directly to all Amway distributors in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and Channel Islands. Amagram is used to communicate information about new products, promotions, community news, distributor events and recognitions as well as news of other affiliates throughout the Amway world. Amagram shows how distributors can make more out of their business. It is also used to help distributors understand the philosophy by which the business operates and the legislation regulating the Direct Selling Industry. For example, The Trading Schemes Act 1997, widens controls over illegal 'pyramid selling' and provides basic standards of business practice for participants in legal Trading Schemes.
Diamond & Leaders' News - This is used to communicate special information to leading distributors. It may involve providing them with information which they need to pass down to other distributors or it could provide top distributors with 'elite' information such as the previews of launches or any changes in policy which only applies to this group, at a particular time.
Newsgram and WAD (Warehouse Authorised Distributor) Bulletin - Newsgram is sent from Amway to Direct Distributors. Although its purpose is similar to Diamond News, information is communicated in a format more suited to the target audience.
Special Literature - Occasionally, Amway designs a brochure or leaflet which is used to address a particular change or launch, e.g. new car care product range.
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