What do you think of when you hear the term brand ambassador? How is an ambassador different from an influencer or other advocate?
Brand ambassadors help spread the word about your business and encourage people to buy from you. They are fans of your brand and present your products to the public through word-of-mouth marketing. In this article, we provide an in-depth definition for what is a brand ambassador and why brand ambassadors are important to your business.
What is a brand ambassador?
Brand ambassadors are people who truly genuinely and actively use your products, love your brand, and want to see your business succeed. By identifying people who are already enthusiastic about your brand and products, you have the opportunity to officially recruit these people as your ambassadors.
Ambassadors regularly promote your brand through word of mouth. For example, your brand ambassador can post about your products online (on their own social media accounts) and talk about your brand offline (at trade shows, community events, etc.).
There are three key differentiators when it comes to brand ambassadors:
- Brand ambassadors really use your product and believe in what your brand is doing. This could mean a brand ambassador is a customer, a partner, or even an employee. Ambassadors are usually people who found your product on their own and are already using it. They may be known authorities in their niche or audience, but they don’t have to be – as long as they’re authorities in your brand.
- Brand ambassadors typically maintain a long-term relationship with a brand. Since ambassadors are devoted to your brand and product, loyalty plays a big part in their relationship as a brand ambassador. They help spread your message through their own social media platforms, content channels, and event marketing on an ongoing basis.
- Brand ambassadors speak through their own channels in their own voice. Ambassadors never explicitly tell people to try this, buy this, use this. Rather, they express their devotion to a brand by sharing their own experience and insight. Rather than having a formal press release or script, brand ambassadors should speak naturally (although you can give a few guidelines to follow).
Why your company needs brand ambassadors
Move over, traditional ads. Step aside, company campaign posts. If you want to acquire and retain new customers, the most effective form of marketing is word of mouth.
Studies show that recommendations from people who really use your products resonates with audiences far more than messages directly from your brand. If you want to maximize word of mouth, it’s important to find people who love your products and are willing to help spread the word about your brand.
Brand ambassadors fit all of these requirements – and more. A brand ambassador’s authenticity, expertise, and strong following are what makes them powerful brand voices your target market can trust. Not only do ambassadors bring new customers your way, these new customers are usually a great product fit and end up as a lifelong customer.
And because of the viral nature of word of mouth, a brand ambassador program can easily become one of the most cost effective ways to bring your brand to a wider audience. Depending on who you choose as a brand ambassador, your brand can reach different demographics and markets you may not be able to market to on your own. You provide the product, and your brand ambassadors take care of the rest.
Below, we break down the benefits of recruiting brand ambassadors for your business:
Reliable, long-term advocacy
One of the main reasons to recruit brand ambassadors is their continued commitment to your brand. Ambassadors agree to work with a brand largely because they already use (and love!) your products. They’ve likely promoted you already, without any prompting, and have an existing positive relationship with your brand. What does this mean? You’ve built rapport with them long before they agreed to become an official brand ambassador.
Unlike influencers, who agree to post about your brand only once or twice, ambassadors will share positive experiences with your brand often – across all their channels. As Entrepreneur puts it, “an endorser will say nice things in a [single] survey. A brand ambassador will say nice things for a year straight.”
Plus, brand ambassadors are great for testing products and providing valuable feedback from an audience perspective. This is especially useful if you’re about to launch a new product, update release, or marketing campaign.
Authenticity and trust
Brand ambassadors give new customers a reason to trust you. If the majority of marketing messages come directly from your brand, you’ll find yourself struggling to get your message across. The market is exposed to so much media every day, they’ve learned to cut through the saturation and ignore what they deem irrelevant – including your ads. The following stats prove this point:
- According to a Nielsen study, 92% of consumers are more inclined to believe people who are in their circles, as opposed to direct messaging from a brand.
- Only one-third of consumers say they trust traditional ads.
- Almost 75% of consumers decide what to buy based on social media posts, but 96% of the people that talk about brands online don’t follow the actual brand profiles. This indicates that people usually hear about a brand from personal posts and reviews, instead of directly from the brand.
However, people do listen to brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors use your products regularly, speak from their own perspective, and recommend your brand based on real experience. Plus, they already have a strong following built on trust.
It’s only natural for people trust the opinions and recommendations of someone who’s used a product far more than a company ad. For this reason, brand ambassadors can provide powerful testimonies that lead to brand awareness and conversions.
Brand ambassadors aren’t just regular users of your product – they’re also authorities in your brand (and possibly within their niche).
According to a B2B Buyer’s Survey, industry experts and peers are the top two resources for consumer advice. And from their followers’ points of view, ambassadors often serve as both experts and peers.
Consider recruiting authorities in your industry to serve as brand ambassadors. For example, an outdoor adventurer is a great ambassador for a hiking gear brand, and a popular chef is a reliable ambassador for a food product.
No matter who you recruit as a brand ambassador, it’s important to equip them with plenty of product information and assets. This enables them to serve as the best brand ambassador possible, allowing them to promote and answer any questions others may have.
One of the best parts about a brand ambassador program is it’s far more cost-effective than traditional paid ads. Although you may compensate brand ambassadors with cash, free products, or gift cards, their biggest motivation is helping your brand grow (and being part of the process).
In fact, many brand ambassadors may even agree to help you for free. And if rewards incentives are part of the deal, they are never the most important part.
While brand ambassador software isn’t free, it’s still very cost-effective. The right software lets you track the success of a brand ambassador’s marketing campaigns, as well as manage any rewards they earn.
How a brand ambassador program can grow your business
There are many ways a brand ambassador program is important for business. Since ambassadors are already fans of your products, they can help spread awareness of your brand in an authentic way and ensure it is well-received by potential customers.
1. Content creation
Brand ambassadors are authentic content creators. Each ambassador creates their own unique content, each with a different and interesting spin. This is a great way to see your brand in a new light and ultimately bring in more traffic.
For example, a brand ambassador may rave about one of your new products and even include an image in their post. This content marketing strategy is free and done purely because the customer loves what you do. In the end, you get a ton of high-quality content created for you, at the fraction of the time it would take using traditional methods.
2. Word-of-mouth marketing
It’s a challenge to get yourself out there – and even more difficult to be everywhere you want your brand to be. This is where ambassadors come in. What do ambassadors do with their created content? They share it. Your brand now has new messages being promoted across all platforms:
- Social media
- Review sites
- Trade shows
3. Personal connection with an audience
When it comes down to creating new customers, your brand ambassadors will have an easier time than you will as a business. Not only are they personally trusted by their audience, they also speak directly to their friends, family, and followers. Plus, brand ambassadors are genuinely enthusiastic about your product, which makes it more widely accepted by potential customers.
4. Product feedback and insight
As your brand grows, so will your products. Working closely with your brand ambassadors allows you to learn what changes can be made and what you need to do to get a leg up on the competition. Being part of your target market (rather than a fixed part of your company), ambassadors see your product from outside the box. While you’re hard at work, creating and pushing products forward, your ambassadors can recognize things you might be missing. They are great testers, thus helping you smooth out kinks before launching or releasing a product to the public.
Make sure you’re open for comments and feedback. You might not always think your ambassador’s ideas are gold, but their honesty will help you build a better product in the long run.
How to find ambassadors for your brand
Now that you know why ambassadors are important, it’s time to figure out what methods you’ll use to find and contact one (or more!) for your own business. Here are a few reliable routes to find the right brand ambassador:
Reaching out to your most loyal customers and inviting them to your brand ambassador program is a great way to make them feel appreciated. Customers are often glad to be contacted by a brand they love to use.
Have you discovered anyone who’s posted about their love for your brand on social media? Have you created a company hashtag that’s been used by any notable people in your audience? Consider contacting them with an invite to be your official brand ambassador.
These manual searches may take some time, especially if you’re looking for brand mentions on posts without tags or hashtags. To make things quicker, consider using some specialty software (mentioned in the next section) to automate the process.
And if you have a hard time writing a compelling message for your potential brand ambassadors, there are man expert writers you can outsource to craft the perfect script for you.
Using ambassador search software to comb social media is a much easier option. This type of software lets you search for people who have shared and engaged with your brand or products, and see who is talking about you online.
All these features make the use of brand ambassador software extremely cost-effective. They save you time, facilitate the initial outreach, and help track and manage ambassador performance throughout the program. Plus, if you consider the sales your brand ambassadors are likely to generate through word-of-mouth recommendations, ambassador software is an even smarter choice.
Application forms can also be used in conjunction with any other method. For example, you can also make a list of possible ambassadors using a software tool, and then narrow down the pool by inviting each person to complete an application form.
In the form, be sure to ask if they would be willing to share your products with their network – more than once. It’s also beneficial to ask why the person chose your product, and why they love your brand. After all, you want ambassadors who have a true passion for your brand and speak from genuine experience.
Your own company employees
When it comes to finding the best promoters for your brand, don’t forget to think of your own employees as ambassadors. It makes sense – they’re already experts in your brand, your audience, and are committed to your values.
But keep in mind, there may be a chance your employee’s advocacy may not come off as authentic and seem a bit too sales-y. Prevent this from happening by allowing them to promote your products in their own voice and methods (as long as it’s within brand guidelines).
If you’re searching for a way to attract a wider audience, a brand ambassador program may be exactly what you need. Brand ambassadors are already part of your target audience, use and love your brand, and are more than willing to help spread the word. Through the use of authentic content and word-of-mouth marketing, a brand ambassador program is one of the most effective ways to promote your business.
Don’t miss these examples of brand ambassador programs, curated to inspire you!