Why a brand ambassador might be your business’s perfect sidekick

Apr 16, 2024

by Moriah Morter, WP writing intern, and Sarah Purdy, WP editor and online content specialist

Picture this: You’re in the middle of a game of dodgeball against 50 people and the only person on your side is … you! There’s no way to win all by yourself. But what if you could recruit a sidekick who knew your style of play?

Getting the attention of potential customers is a little like playing dodgeball, except you want to hit your ideal audience. The trouble is, hundreds of other companies and products are all fighting to interact with the same people. With such daunting odds, how could you ever hope to connect with your audience?

Thankfully, the trusty sidekick in our metaphorical dodgeball game does exist!

 

What is a brand ambassador?

In the marketing world, an ambassador is anyone who represents or promotes. A brand ambassador is someone who perfectly embodies and represents your brand. Over time, they may become the literal face that reminds consumers of your company, like Cindy Crawford in that iconic Pepsi commercial.

Typically, brand ambassadors are individuals who’ve built a long-term relationship with your product. They could be a customer, a loyal employee, a character you create, or even a famous face. The only necessary requirement is that they accurately and positively represent your business.

Think of GEICO. Who comes to mind? Probably a little green gecko with an unusual accent. (His name is Martin, in case you’re curious.) While he may not be real, Martin makes a very real difference by giving an unentertaining industry an entertaining personality. For a less fictional example, think of George Clooney and Nespresso. Clooney, with his suave and rich mystique, is the perfect embodiment for the high-end coffee brand. Suddenly, Nespresso isn’t just another cup of coffee—it is a luxury cup of coffee made affluent by George Clooney’s charisma.

An ambassador does not have to be an Oscar winner to make a difference. In fact, it can be more meaningful to show how everyday folks have been positively impacted by your brand. One great example is the Starbucks Partners program, which has dedicated pages on Instagram and Facebook. These pages are a way for employees (dubbed “partners”) to promote the brand on social media. They share fun photos, videos, and stories portraying them working at Starbucks, which projects a friendly and people-focused image. The takeaway? People already within your business might be your best brand advocates!

 

How hiring a brand ambassador benefits you

The role of your brand ambassador is to showcase why your product or service is worth its cost and why your business is the best place to find it. Any business, large or small, can benefit from having an ambassador. And while it is great to have a celebrity on board or a cute fictional gecko, they only represent two possibilities.

Like with the Starbucks Partners program, there are other ambassador avenues that are attainable and effective for businesses of all sizes because they leverage the people you already interact with every day.

 

Types of brand ambassadors

Formal brand ambassadors. A formal brand ambassador is typically someone the business chooses. The selected ambassador will then represent the brand under a contract with the company.

Generally, formal ambassadors have a large social media following or a recognizable online presence. While a formal ambassador could be a celebrity, they could also be a popular content creator on social media, a well-known author, or anyone with an established reputation and large following.

Finding a formal ambassador can be as easy as recruiting a professional figure that accurately represents your brand. For example, a cookware company might hire a baker who has thousands of Instagram followers to post social media content revolving around a new line of stand mixers.

Informal brand ambassadors. An informal brand ambassador is a customer who is either asked by a business or volunteers to promote a brand. This can be especially beneficial if the customer has in-depth knowledge of the products being sold and a long-standing relationship with the company.

An informal ambassador spreads information about a business through word-of-mouth and on their social media accounts. In return, they are typically given free products or discounts from the business they are promoting. While customers may reach out to a business asking to represent their brand, more often a company launches an informal ambassador program to connect with willing customers.

Here’s a quick example: A farmer with a large following on X (or Twitter) shares action footage of a particular product, like a row cleaner. He regularly posts and tags the manufacturer, and in return the manufacturer gives him discounts or sends swag like hats and t-shirts.

Employee brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors who are also company employees are extremely helpful because they’re deeply knowledgeable.

Employee ambassadors have an in-depth understanding of the target audience, the company’s marketing goals, and the products being sold. With this knowledge, they can create content that effectively encourages the growth of the brand. Since serving as an employee ambassador requires elevated responsibility, their efforts are generally reflected appropriately in their pay rate.

For an example, let’s say there is a stylist at a salon who has great charisma and rapport with customers. She could be featured in short, fun videos explaining new services or hair care products. She could also become the voice of radio advertisements and represent the salon at local events.

 

Are you ready for a brand ambassador?

Brand ambassadors interact with customers, build trust, define an experience, and create awareness for your company. They become a personality potential clients recognize and recall.

What about your brand? If you could hire a personality to embody your company, who would best fit that role and why? Is your brand suave, nerdy, or elegant? What kind of experience does your product represent? Is it comfortable, luxurious, or modern? Knowing these traits as you launch into your ambassador search will keep you on the right path to finding a natural fit for your brand.

Any business, no matter the size or industry, can benefit from having a brand ambassador; it’s just a matter of finding the best voice for your brand. If you are interested in learning more about how to leverage a brand ambassador in your marketing strategy, reach out to the Write Place at 641-628-8398 or send an email to hello@thewriteplace.biz.


Sources:

 

Feature photo by Steve Gale on Unsplash

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