Here's Why You Need a Brand Ambassador Program for Your Businessby: Dustin Hawley | Friday December 21, 2018
Ok, so your business may be doing well. Or perhaps it isn't. Regardless of whether your business is experiencing hyper growth, or struggling to stay relevant in an ultra-competitive marketplace, odds are you are still looking for ways to improve your brand. One often overlooked asset in building both brand sales and loyalty is utilizing a brand ambassador. There are a number of tangible reasons you should strongly consider the services of a brand ambassador, but first things first, let's define what exactly that title means.
What is a brand ambassador?
In so many words, a brand ambassador is a person who works to promote and represent a brand within its specific marketplace. They are often customers who were already advocating for brands before they started working with them. On the other hand, some brand ambassadors are chosen because they have a large social following and are social media influencers. Brand ambassadors maintain a working relationship with the brands they represent, in turn taking direction from the brand on how to interact with customers in the marketplace.
So now that we have established what a brand ambassador is, let's break down exactly what a brand ambassador program entails.
What is a brand ambassador program?
A brand ambassador program is a program that organizes brand ambassadors for a business and creates an ongoing, working relationship between the brand and its ambassadors. A brand ambassador program is used to manage the ongoing, working relationship between the brand and its ambassadors, and provide ongoing training and instruction for its ambassadors, as well as support. Most brand ambassador programs work closely with other areas of the business, such as marketing, sales, customer service, and product design.
There was a time when customers in the marketplace were complacent with one-directional communication from brands. However, the rise of social media has changed the influencer marketing agency world, by giving consumers a voice. Social media created an environment where consumers are able to give input in a public forum. Here they can exhibit their own influence over one another’s actions and decisions based on their sentiment towards a brand or product. It could be fairly argued that they do so more effectively than the brand itself ever could.
In today's world, the conversation around your brand on social is, in itself, the voice of your brand. And many brands have lost control of that conversation, as they no longer are able to control strictly through traditional advertising practices. Because of this, brand ambassadors potentially have more influence than ever before. But aside from an ever-changing business landscape, what benefits are there from starting a brand ambassador program?
The Best Type Of Advertising Is Word Of Mouth
Two out of three consumers say they don't trust paid advertisements, according to studies from Nielsen. The challenging part of that data is that the distrust has little to do with poor product quality. As advertising has grown more ubiquitous, consumers, of course, have become painfully aware of the fact that they are exposed to advertising, seemingly everywhere they turn. On the other side of the coin, nine out of ten shoppers say that they trust peer recommendations over those of advertisements. The gap between salesman and peer is significantly decreased when messaging is sent through a brand ambassador. A well-executed ambassadorship is a great way for a brand to speak to consumers at their level and establish trust within that community. Having a positive sentiment behind your brand when being discussed in the public forum is crucial in today's marketplace. Word travels fast, and you want to steer those words in a positive direction for your brand.
Ambassadors Spark Emotion
People relate to authenticity. Ambassador relationships that allow the ambassadors the freedom to give honest opinions about products and services are the most effective type of ambassador relationship. Ambassadors typically reward brands for this degree of trust by creating brand-related content that the audience sees as both authentic and trustworthy. When companies treat their ambassadors well, they project that emotional connection outward to their followings in a powerful way. They have a sense of personal connection with their audience that sells your brand in an organic way. Brand ambassadors are essentially just an empowered consumer with significant influence over their audience or peers, designed to build positive sentiment towards your brand.
They Have A Contagious Enthusiasm
Anyone who has ever started a business knows how it is when you first launch or start working with a company. You barrage your friends and family on social media with every new company update and blog post you possibly can. It comes with the territory. But the harsh reality is that eventually even your friends, family, and contacts will probably start to scroll past your updates. This effect may be particularly strong in your close network of initial customers.
But this is where having a community of brand ambassadors can work its magic. You are no longer reliant on being the only source of broadcast for your brands content. Your ambassadors are distributors now. They do so because they are just as excited about your brand as you are! Brand ambassadors will be excited to pass along your brand content to their networks when they are enthusiastic about your brand. This, of course, helps spread the word about what you’re doing to much larger network than you can reach on your own.
They Create A More Personal Buying Experience
The traditional buying experience is a thing of the past. With the rise in online shopping, many consumers seek input on purchase decisions from sources other than brands. Search engines, review sites, and many others. It's a consumer expectation that companies portray their products and services exclusively in it's best possible light. This approach has created a skeptical view from consumers towards direct brand messaging. This is where an ambassador can be effective, by bridging the gap of this guarded approach from the consumer marketplace. A brand ambassador can convey a company’s message into their own voice, and provide honest, clear and detailed information to draw in new customers.
They Provide Opportunity To Create Content
Content creation is a critical necessity in driving site and social traffic, and it helps solidify your brand voice to the general public. But content creation is a time-consuming venture that requires resources and manpower to produce at a high level. If your brand has a blog, website, newsletter, etc., this is another great opportunity to tap into your brand ambassadors.
They’re likely to be excited about the opportunity—and since they represent your ideal customer, the things they write about are likely to appeal to your other customers as well. give them a general guideline of what they should write about, it seems like they always figure out what our customers are really interested in reading by themselves.
They Provide Time Management Advantages
Everything in the media world has a life span. Television commercials and banner ads have some of the shortest shelf life, they are used for a very short period of time and then retired before they become stale. On the flip side, a brand ambassador’s effectiveness typically increases over time. In ideal cases, they come to be thought of as an expert (or even the face itself) of the brand.
Another perk? Ambassadors require much less lead time than traditional advertisers. What this does is allow your brand to activate real-time marketing: responding to current events in real time. Traditional ad campaigns have to be created much further in advance, and then must be executed according to a fixed schedule. Companies who have built strong relationships and created loyal ambassadors can attempt to activate them at a moment's notice if real-time marketing opportunities present themselves.
They Create More Ambassadors
The best online brand ambassadors tend to be social media influencers, as they tend to have the most social reach in the influencer marketing world. And once you have an ambassador with social reach, their followers become your audience. Ambassadors can broadcast information about your brand with their entire following with just a couple of clicks. When doing so, your content is quickly in front of an entire network of people who already trust the messenger, the ambassador. This is a particularly appealing task for the ambassador if the opportunity itself adds value to them in some way, at which point it is likely they will share it again. This creates a sort of evergreen content flow you can utilize.
How To Get Started
There are many ways you can go about creating a brand ambassador program for your business. Recruiting for brand ambassadors in your existing newsletter or a call to action on your website could be the simplest place to start. Use keywords related to your brand and social network data to find out where people are talking about your brand. Users who talk about you and communicate a positive message may be an ideal prototype for a potential ambassador.
Brand ambassadors often are paid for their work, but there are many who will happily represent your company for free, simply because they're excited about it. It should be noted that best practices ensure ambassadors have access to product at no cost if the partnership is unpaid. Any other perks you can throw their way only enhance the benefit and goodwill of the relationship. It's fair to say they should be treated as your most important customers. That is because, in all actuality, they are. Building a brand ambassador program can have lasting effects on both driving sales, and establishing a positive and trusting rapport with your customer base.