Reputation and popularity determine a brand’s success to a big future. Today it’s not enough for brands to promote themselves as well as possible – they need true and credible influencers. Personal reviews from real people will lead to a better reaction from audiences than news direct from the brand. This post’s explaining who brand ambassadors are, what benefits they provide, and how brands can gain from their employees, how they are different than influencers, and how you can start a successful ambassador program.
The New Era of Marketing
Social media platforms have forever changed the way we create, distribute and consume information. However, one thing has stayed the same throughout the years – users trust other users more than they trust companies.
Brands have always known how strong social proof can be, and with the availability of different content in the digital era, social proof has become one of the most important elements of a successful company.
Instead of remaining impersonal, businesses are choosing to collaborate with influential personalities that align with their brand image and values.
These influential personalities are called brand ambassadors.
Many years ago, companies worked with “brand managers” who were also sometimes called “product managers”. In the early 2000s, the role of a brand manager was substituted with a brand ambassador.
Brand ambassadors were typically celebrities (mostly they were musicians or actors) who were rewarded for brand promotion and participating in different commercials and promotional material.
With the rise of social media, those who were once considered “ordinary people” now have the opportunity to build a following and have an extraordinary impact on the people by producing, publishing, and sharing information online. Today, brand ambassador contracts broaden much more than celebrity branding.
Brand Ambassadors vs. Influencers vs. Brand Advocates
When companies consider collaboration, their ideas usually jump to influencer marketing and partnering with celebrities and influential social media users that may not have received a celebrity status, but still, keep up a loyal following.
However, a partnership with an influencer for a campaign varies with a partnership with a brand ambassador.
Influencers are usually used for a single campaign, and once that campaign is finished, they finish their partnership with this company. They may agree to work again on future campaigns together, but they are not exclusively advertising a single brand.
Remember, a brand ambassador is always an influencer, but an influencer does not belong necessarily to a brand ambassador.
Another expression that usually adds to the confusion is “brand advocate”.
While brand ambassadors and influencers get compensated for their work and collaboration with the company, brand advocates promote a brand not because they are paid, but because they are their true fans.
Brand advocates, unlike influencers and brand ambassadors, do not necessarily have significant social influence.
What is a Brand Ambassador?
Brand ambassadors are influencers who have agreed to promote a company on a long-term basis and for that reason, become the “face” of the brand.
Many people perceive ambassadors as the “face” of a brand. These people often have developed networks and relationships to promote a certain brand with help of a word of mouth marketing methods such as referring family and friends or discussing a brand on communication channels such as social media.
Brands are looking to attract new clients beyond traditional ad campaigns. They are finding new ways to leverage their advocates to increase brand awareness and drive better business performance.
Many people may consider brand ambassadors as influencers hired by a company. However, an ambassador can be anyone who adores the products of your company and make some efforts to support and promote an organization’s growth.
Because of their great communication and interpersonal talent, ambassadors have the power to affect people’s opinions and impact their purchasing decisions.
Why Do You Need a Brand Ambassador?
Interrelationship, trust, influence – whatever you want to call it – is the key.
These are the currency of business: the more trust and influence you have with someone, the most commonly you are to profit from their business. This is the merit of a brand ambassador.
Attracting brand ambassadors as a part of your marketing strategy, social media, and communication plans can a long way out in driving more brand awareness and generating more profit.
Developing brands are facing competition on an extraordinary scale. Markets are getting more saturated, and clients have the opportunity to choose between many different products and services. Hence, companies are now turning to make ambassadors out of their current clients, partners, contractors, and employee base.
3 reasons why every business needs brand ambassadors:
More trust and brand awareness
One of the most common motives why companies like to partner with ambassadors is to increase brand awareness, improve social engagement, and establish trust among users and followers. When the majority of an organization’s communication comes directly from the company, messages are not as trustworthy as when they come from real people.
Today, people are exposed to content overload daily. Hence, they’ve learned to cut through the noise and ignore what they consider inappropriate—including company ads.
That is to say, people trust the opinions and suggestions from others who have used the products and services in real life, and someone’s personal review is the source of information clients trust most.
For brand ambassadors, it is much easier to influence their audiences in a genuine and authentic way, gain the audience’s attention and enthusiasm about your products and services.
As mentioned above, advocacy marketing can be far more cost-effective than traditional promotion and other marketing or sales campaigns. While some brand ambassadors may be paid with cash, free products, or gift cards, the most successful ambassadors tend to be those whose biggest motivation is to see the brand is developing.
In many cases, the brand ambassadors are your own employees. Even though many companies also have paid ambassadorship programs, they are still very expensive. Compared to costly promotions, ambassadors can do a much better job in gaining the audience’s attention, reaching a wider audience, and making more sales.
Improved employer brand and more high-quality job candidates
Besides driving more visibility, brand awareness, and sales, brand ambassadorship can be a very effective way of improving your organization’s employer brand and, therefore, attracting more high-quality candidates for your open vacancies.
Employees who are proud to be part of your company can spread the word about your key brand values, EVP, and their own employee experience.
Who Can Be A Brand Ambassador?
It depends on the goals of your company (and your ambassador program), however – any employee has the potential to be a brand ambassador.
Employees in sales, HR, marketing, communications, product, engineering, and management can turn to be effective brand ambassadors.
Here are some examples of the results employees within these people can bring:
- Sales: new opportunity creation, reduce the sales cycle, increase revenue and lead pipeline
- Human Resources: builds your employer reputation, increase recruiting and retention, improved talent pool,
- Marketing: brand awareness, lead generation, social shares, web traffic
- Product & Engineering: product awareness, thought leadership
Generally, employees who usually communicate with people outside the company are the ones who will bring the greatest results. In this digital and social new era, virtually every employee has a large professional network. Besides that, many are already sharing about your business, whether executives realize it or not.
Between social media, email, and other services, B2B employees have a significant number of people they communicate, and with whom they have good relationships and trust.
On average and given the nature of their roles (e.g., the requirement to network with people outside of their company), sales, marketing, and management are going to have the largest professional networks and can bring the biggest results.
Where to Start?
The sky’s the limit when you decide to launch an employee ambassador program.
Whether you choose to hire ambassadors or collaborate with influencers, a great place to start is with your company’s human resources. With time and success, it is possible for your program to reach a point where most of your company’s workers are then taking part.
However–and at the start–it’s better to take things one step. Start small, analyze, iterate, show success, improve, and repeat.
Especially when you’re starting, it’s important to focus on attracting employees to your program that actually want to participate and who like and have experience with social media and other modern communication and networking platforms.
Even though this seems like a very organic thing to do, it is not so easy to execute successful employee advocacy programs. Here are the must-follow steps for creating a successful ambassadorship program in your company:
- Identify the rules of your brand ambassadorship program
- Teach your employees how to be ambassadors (the do’s and don’ts)
- Choose your current internal ambassadors
- Offer to pass a survey to reveal who is your potential ambassadors
- Clearly claim the benefits of brand ambassadorship for both individuals and your company as a whole
- Create and distribute content relevant to your internal audiences (only then they will want to share it with their networks)
- Facilitate for ambassadors to share the content externally
- Estimate the impact of brand ambassadorship
- Recognize and reward your brand ambassadors
Creating a Brand Ambassador Program that Fits Your Goals
Think about what you’re trying to reach with your brand ambassador program, and how much you can invest. Different businesses have different requirements for their ambassadors and different requirements for their programs.
There are lots of ways to start your brand ambassador program:
- Provide your ambassadors with complementary products.
- Send your ambassadors a discount on your products.
- Pay the ambassadors on a regular basis:
- With such a payment model, the brand ambassador agrees to promote the company and fulfill their agreements for a fixed monthly fee.
- This payment needs to be provided no matter if you’ve tasked your ambassador with work or not.
- Create an affiliate program.
- Ambassadors get some fee on purchases linked to their promotional activities. Affiliate programs typically cover a unique discount code that serves as an incentive for the followers to buy.
You can also mix any of these methods to create your unique ambassador program or order publications via such services as PRNEWS.IO, which will increase your population and build a good reputation. PRNews.io offers the guaranteed distribution of content in publications across the globe. The PRNews.io platform can help you to drive awareness among your potential clients, partners, and investors and increase your sales. It will help you not to waste time in searching and pitching yourself lots of media outlets to publish your press release, news, or story there. PRNews.io is a service that connects brands and journalists.
Potential candidates and users trust real referrals more than traditional advertisements. And since the ambassadors occupy a specialist position, the trust of potential customers is even stronger.
The success of employer branding and recruiting depends more than ever on the employer’s good reputation on social platforms – corporate ambassadors can help there. If brands rely on their brand ambassadors, they achieve many benefits. If you don’t have them now, it’s always a good idea to use the help of professional services, like PRNEWS.IO.