Guide To Finding Brand Ambassadors
There is this misconception that a “brand ambassador” is a model or an endorser. After all, you see them endorsing the products and services of the company. You see them in various media promotions for the product or service.
In that regard, we will agree that brand ambassadors are, in effect, models or endorsers. However, compared to models or endorsers, brand ambassadors have a weightier responsibility towards the company they are representing or promoting and to the audience that they are endorsing the company’s products and services too.
Unfortunately, not a lot of people have a clear idea about what brand ambassadors are and what they do. Why are brand ambassadors important? What can they do for businesses? How are they chosen by businesses? Will they have a positive and, most importantly, lasting impact on the goals of the business?
These are only a few of the questions we will try to answer, and we will also give you some tips on how to find brand ambassadors for your business.
In particular, we will walk through the sections 1) meet the brand ambassador and 2) how to find brand ambassadors.
MEET THE BRAND AMBASSADOR
You will notice that even already established and highly successful businesses make use of brand ambassadors. What, exactly, do you know about them?
Who is the Brand Ambassador?
A brand ambassador is basically a person who represents or promotes a company, endorsing its products and services as well as acting as an embodiment of the company’s corporate identity through his or her words and actions.
There are no fixed categorizations of brand ambassadors. They may be employed by the organization, or they may even be working as freelancers. It is also possible that they are volunteers, not getting monetary compensations for promoting the products and services of the business. More often than not, their efforts are borne out of genuine appreciation for the company or the brand. In many cases, the only form of compensation they get are freebies or bonus gifts from the company.
And there are no fixed qualifications, either. They could be students, housewives, office workers or professionals. As long as they belong in the same industry, they can be brand ambassadors.
This means that the brand ambassador can be… well, anyone.
What does the Brand Ambassador do?
It has been said that brand ambassadors are useful in providing and increasing the visibility of a brand, boosting market awareness of the brand and, consequently, increasing the company’s sales. The role of the brand ambassador is to strengthen and solidify the relationship between the company’s products or services and the customer.
You will find brand ambassadors making their promotional moves and stunts on various channels such as blogs and personal websites, as well as social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, to name a few. Social media has risen to be an effective field for creating buzz for brands in recent years, and brand ambassadors are fully utilizing these channels to promote their products or services of choice.
What can the Brand Ambassador do for your business?
Let us delve deeper into the benefits of having brand ambassadors for your company or business.
1) The brand ambassador lends a human touch for your brand.
Customers will identify with brands, products or services more if they have a face they can readily attach to it. On its own, a brand is nothing but a name or an image. Even the use of professional models to promote the brand does not automatically make the brand more appealing to the target customers.
Brand ambassadors, on the other hand, succeed in “humanizing” brands. The market will have an easier time relating to brand ambassadors since they are promoting the products or services without being paid to do so, unlike models, who receive a handsome check for every marketing campaign they work on for the company.
2) The brand ambassador adds strength to your marketing team.
With a brand ambassador on your side, you literally have a sales representative AND a marketing team member, and you do not have to shell out cash for his monthly salary.
Word of mouth remains to be one of the best forms of advertising, and that is where much of the brand ambassador’s power lies. By providing positive reviews or saying even just one or two good things about a brand or product, they can change public perception of the product or service, and even convince non-customers into converting into buying customers.
3) The brand ambassador is a great aide for your company’s social presence.
Who says you have to do all the work yourself? Although you may have a solid online marketing team in place, there is nothing wrong with enlisting the help of a brand ambassador in helping improve or increase the social reach of your brand or company.
More often than not, brand ambassadors have already established themselves as public figures online, having cultivated solid online reputations. This means that they already have a large following and an extensive social network. This is why they are also often referred to as “influencers”, because with just a single blog post, status update, or tweet, they can reach a large number of people whom they can influence into checking out the brand, or its products and services.
Company websites will also benefit from brand ambassadors. Thanks to their solid online reputations, brand ambassadors will have no trouble increasing traffic to the website of a company. Bloggers, for instance, are effective as brand ambassadors because, by providing a link to the company website, they will be redirecting their readers to the website.
But linking is not the only way that bloggers-slash-brand-ambassadors can help. Blogs with a high domain authority are also instrumental in increasing the SEO ranking of the domain of the company. This effect is duplicated with respect to the rankings of the company and the brand in the search engines.
4) The brand ambassador is a handy troubleshooter.
Companies have to contend with bad reviews – against the company as a whole, or against individual products or services offered by the company – especially with the internet becoming a free-for-all. With the help of a brand ambassador, putting out fires is much easier. A brand ambassador has the power to overturn a bad review given by some people.
5) The brand ambassador can make your market wider.
You can also tap into new markets with the help of a brand ambassador. Remember that brand ambassadors have a wide reach, and most have a wider reach than even the company itself. Imagine an apparel company in Brazil gaining attention from customers in India, for the simple reason that a Hindu blogger liked the designs that she came across while on a trip to Rio de Janeiro.
6) The brand ambassador offers something that customers are looking for: honesty.
Brand ambassadors promote a product or service because they truly like or enjoy it. They endorse a brand because they respect it. Businesses will also definitely find it a great morale booster to have someone promoting them with sincerity. They like you, and you do not even have to pay them to say good things about you! All you have to do is to continue creating high-quality products or providing excellent service!
7) The brand ambassador is, in effect, a form of providing customer service.
Many customers are apprehensive about trying a new product, or an old product that they have not tried yet. Customers tend to have a lot of questions about the product or the service before they decide to give it a shot. That’s why many seek out bloggers and other influencers, wanting their opinion first before they try it for themselves. The brand ambassador helps in educating the customers about the product or service, and will also pitch in when it comes to answering questions.
HOW TO FIND BRAND AMBASSADORS
Prowling or hunting for ambassadors for your brand is not nearly as difficult as you’d think, and that is largely thanks to the wonders of the internet. After all, it is the domain or the playing field of many potential brand ambassadors.
Finding brand ambassadors means looking for people or individuals who love the niche that your brand occupies, but have not come across your products or services just yet. Or, even if they are aware of your product or service, they haven’t had any “close encounters” with it yet.
Here is a comprehensive guide on how you can find brand ambassadors for your company.
Step 1: Identify who your brand ambassador is.
Who is the influencer in your particular field or niche? What are the traits or characteristics that clearly make him qualified to represent your brand. Major brands have no trouble tapping on celebrities as their influencers, and they fit the bill quite nicely. They have a multitude of followers in their various social media accounts, and their widespread exposure practically cements them as individuals with a huge amount of influence.
For niche brands and smaller companies, however, that is just not practical, not to mention unrealistic. For one thing, they could not afford the atmospheric fees that these celebrities will ask, and they will most definitely demand payment. Another is that celebrities rarely allow their names and faces to be attached to smaller brands. They’d much prefer to stick to established global brands.
What should you look for in a brand ambassador?
- A good brand ambassador must be relevant. They must have a substantial reach to your target audience. An organic food company has no business approaching a potential brand ambassador who blogs about travel even if he has more than 100,000 followers online. The results will be better if they chose a food blogger who writes about food – especially healthy foods – even if he only has around 50,000 followers.
- A good brand ambassador must have credibility. As influencers, they should have cultivated a favorable impression. After all, they will be representing your brand, so you would naturally want one that people trust and believe in.
- A good brand ambassador must have good connections. They must have wide networks and many loyal followers.
- A good brand ambassador must be willing to meet you halfway in terms of compensation. Yes, brand ambassadors do it for free. However, you may expect them to ask for some perks once in a while. The two parties must be willing to talk about what they both find reasonable and befitting their relationship.
Step 2: Look for your brand ambassador in the right places.
Influencers can be pretty much anyone, and you will find them pretty much, well, anywhere. But it is one thing to locate brand ambassadors, it is another thing to find the right brand ambassadors for you.
You will find your brand ambassadors in these places.
- Within your own organization. Who will know your brand better than your own people? Look to your employees for potential brand ambassadors. They are actually in the perfect position to represent your products since they are already aware of how the process of coming up with the final output came about. Their loyalty as employees is also an additional motivation to prod them into becoming vocal and active in promoting the brand to customers. Between executives and rank-and-file employees, it has been seen that the latter group has more credibility as brand ambassadors.
- Among your customers. Take a closer look at your customer base, and focus on your most loyal ones. The customers are the end-users of the product or service you offer, so they are the best people to talk about it. Among your customers, you will no doubt find several hardcore fans or frequent users of your products. In fact, they love it so much that they will talk about it every chance they get, in any platform. They are the perfect brand ambassadors.
Most brand ambassadors today can be found online, primarily because that is their milieu. That is where they have established a presence and gained the following that you hope to attract to your brand.
Bloggers have a lot of power, and they know it. With a single blog post, the most influential bloggers can sway a lot of people and even reverse public opinion. That makes them excellent brand ambassadors. Look for blogs that talk about your products, or similar products. You can even search blogs based on trends currently making waves in the industry that your business belongs in. For example, a shoe manufacturer will look for fashion blogs, especially fashion bloggers that highlight footwear in their blogs. On the other hand, a company that sells organic food will turn to food blogs and even fitness-centric blogs.
Social networking services are also good places to search for influencers. Examples include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn, to name a few. Usually, businesses start by watching a follower of their brand. They will take careful note of what that follower said about the product or the brand a whole, and observe the reaction of other followers to what they have stated. This requires more than a little research, since there is a need to track their social activities as well as that of those they have a regular interaction with online.
Step 3: Give them a taste of your products.
Once you have identified and found your potential influencer, you should send them a few products or perform your primary service for their review or consideration. This applies whether they are already loyal consumers or are completely new to your brand.
Loyal consumers of your product or services will appreciate the “freebies” once they receive them, further reinforcing your case towards convincing them to become your brand ambassador. In fact, you’d probably have very little trouble getting them on board.
In the case of new customers, giving them samples will introduce your brand to them and, if they like what they have been given, you can follow it up until such time that they finally agree to promote your products.
Step 4: Generate goodwill and maintain a good relationship with your brand ambassador.
If you hope to have an easier time finding brand ambassadors, you should know how to take care of them first. The relationship between a brand and its ambassador has a symbiotic nature. They are doing something for your business, so the business has to return the favor and do something for them, too.
While it is strictly not a salary, monetary incentives may be given to brand ambassadors. Frequently, however, businesses give its brand ambassadors the actual product that they are promoting.
Taking care of your brand ambassador will ensure that they will stay with you – and your brand – for a very long time. It will also attract other brand ambassadors, thus giving you more options.
As your ambassadors are promoting you, you should also promote them. This can be done by giving them credit, such that they gain a reputation of being an expert about your product or service. If you have upcoming promotions or new products, let them be the first to know. Talk about them and acknowledge them in your own social media platforms so you can also help them gain more following.
Having a brand ambassador program is considered to be one of the best marketing strategies that a business can employ. When you find the right ambassador for your brand and you take care of them properly, you will be directly impacting your company’s revenue and profit goals.
In Redwood City we talked with entrepreneur Steve Bisset about the business model of Terrajoule …
“Without a coach, people will never reach their maximum capabilities.” – Bob Nardelli The above …