Who is a brand ambassador and why your business needs one
Previously, in promoting brands, the focus was mainly on the production of a quality product. Today, everything is driven by advertising, led by influencer marketing. But not advertising among bloggers alone. Not so long ago, domestic marketers have adopted a new promotion strategy with the help of a brand ambassador. This strategy has long been used abroad, scientific papers are written on it, since it shows great potential and opportunities. It will also be useful for local businesses.
Who is a brand ambassador
Brand ambassador (ambassador, ambassador) is a socially active person who represents the brand, publicly expresses his sympathy and popularizes the product.
The profession of an ambassador appeared due to the fact that the general public has long been disillusioned with intrusive advertising. In addition, people’s attention has shifted towards smartphones. Companies had to develop marketing solutions that would continue to attract customers. This is how the practice of working with opinion leaders appeared, because people are always interested in purchasing quality goods and the opinion of an idol plays a significant role in their choice.
Emilia Clarke is Clinique Brand Ambassador
By attracting a famous person with a similar philosophy and set of certain beliefs to cooperation, you can easily grab the attention of her audience.
In other words, an ambassador is the face of a brand who can take sales to the next level by leveraging its existing popularity.
This is a highly underestimated ad format. Of course, large companies are not accustomed to choosing famous personalities as the “face” of their brand, but in the Social Media format, this format of promotion is still treated with great caution. And in vain.
European and American companies have been using the ambassadorship experience for more than 10 years. Moreover, earlier this role was assigned mainly to stars, but today any interesting media personality can become an ambassador: a singer, an athlete, a blogger, a politician, and so on.
Canon Ambassador for Ukraine (@karpiy)
It should be noted that this type of cooperation is not advertising in its traditional sense. Very often, ambassadors really share the values and philosophy of the brand, and simply sincerely express their sympathy, demonstrate new products, inform about company news. It is not uncommon for people to become ambassadors on a non-commercial basis.
When creating any brand, a certain philosophy, beliefs, corporate mission, values and other components of the company’s identity are laid in it. It is difficult to carry these values to the masses using only advertising posts and texts. Such messages remain impersonal to readers. Such a text “without a face” is not interesting today, and it does not matter how correct the idea is. It is quite different when information comes from the lips of a famous person who personally uses the products and has respect among the audience, shares the philosophy and values of the brand.
Sportswoman Daria Beloded – Mitsubishi Ambassador in Ukraine
Accordingly, the key mission of the brand ambassador is to convey to the general public the philosophy of the brand, its concept, explain everything in simple words and form a loyal audience around the brand.
The desire to bring the brand to the masses should run through all the actions of the ambassador, like a red thread.
You can achieve the desired effect in many ways: use word of mouth, show by your own example how you can use products, promote your brand at social events, seminars, social networks and the media. It doesn’t matter how, but through all the actions of the ambassador, like a red thread, the desire to carry delirium to the masses should run. And it is important to do this unobtrusively, so that no one would guess that the work of a brand ambassador is rewarded with money.
What qualities and skills he should have
An Ambassador is not just a “brand face” or an advertising image. It is also his voice, which should convey to the audience the philosophy and core values of the brand. This is a very responsible mission, because any wrong action can not only reduce the effectiveness of advertising, but also put an end to the reputation of the brand and personality.
The choice of the company’s ambassadors is taken very seriously, because it causes a kind of dependence on the actions and image of the chosen person. Of course, each brand has its own requirements regarding the personality of an ambassador, but let’s try to form a basic set of skills and qualities.
- Compliance with the philosophy and ideas of the brand. The brand ambassador must share the core values and philosophy of the company, sincerely love the product and use it.
- Compliance with the image. Each brand is looking for the role of a person who is the embodiment of its values. Thus, sports nutrition brands are chosen as ambassadors for athletes and athletes, and cosmetic brands are chosen as attractive girls.
- Reputation. The Ambassador is a prism that reflects the values of the company to the masses. Any shadow on the reputation of the ambassador can become a catalyst for the black PR of the brand, destroy its image and image. Therefore, one of the key requirements is an unblemished reputation.
- Social activity. An ambassador must be socially active, have a wide circle of contacts, popularity and authority. People should listen to his opinion, want to follow him.
- Quality content. It doesn’t matter how deeply the brand ambassador candidate shares the company’s values. If he doesn’t know how to create quality content, nothing will come of it.
In the classic manifestation, an ambassador is a media person who is sincerely and heartily ready to recommend a brand, because he himself prefers the company’s products and is not ashamed to recommend it.
Who is it for and how it differs from direct advertising
Brand Ambassador – a new wave of exciting marketing. If we face it, it’s obvious that sane people have a healthy skepticism about direct advertising. But they are much more receptive to the opinions of others, especially if they are our friends or idols.
Singer Tina Karol – Ambassador of UkrZoloto
In their work, ambassadors do not use anything that people are so tired of – no edifications, slogans “buy”, no violence. Differences might look something like this:
- Direct advertising: “Buy and you’ll be happy!”
- Ambassador: “Look how happy I am using this product.”
Accordingly, due to the almost complete inoperability of traditional advertising methods today, brand promotion through an ambassador is relevant for any business. For FMCG and HoReCa segments, a brand ambassador can conduct master classes, give expert opinion, act as a speaker at seminars, voice in the media and social networks.
In such complex business segments as B2B or medicine, an ambassador can act as a specialist, organize presentations, conferences and briefings. The task of such a person is to create a society of professionals around him, lobby for the interests of the brand, and form an opinion about the product.
How to start working with ambassadors
At first glance, everything seems extremely simple – it is enough to find a person who is loyal to the brand and agree with him on mutually beneficial cooperation. In practice, there are many nuances and pitfalls in this simple task – where to look, how to choose who will fit, and what if not. Next, let’s talk about everything in order.
How brand ambassadors are searched for
As a rule, each company already knows who can become its ambassador. Often this role is assigned to musicians, actors, singers, models, athletes, bloggers who are either already regular customers of the company and share the brand’s philosophy, or are interested in the target audience of the brand.
Blogger Alina Frendiy – Ambassador of Calvin Klein watches in Ukraine
The easiest way to navigate your search is to target the preferences of your target audience. Look at the pages to your clients, see what kind of music they listen to, whose videos they watch, who they are subscribed to. You can conduct an unobtrusive survey and identify an idol. User preferences will help you understand who would look good as an ambassador.
Don’t forget that the best ambassador is your client. Each person has their own preferences in cosmetics, clothes, smartphones. And this potential can be successfully used to promote your business.
How to choose the right person
Cooperation with an ambassador can only bring success if the values of the brand and the ambassador are correlated with each other. The most valuable thing is synergy. A famous person advertises a product, so it is of high quality. A well-known brand wants to work with this person, so he is cool.
When choosing a person who will carry your brand to the masses, you should pay attention to several important criteria:
- Target audience. Friends, acquaintances, and followers of the candidate for the role of ambassador should have people who match the portrait of your potential customers.
- Similarity in views. A brand ambassador should, if not be a fanatical adherent of the brand, then at least a supporter of it. He should be close to the ideas and values of the company, its mission.
- Ability to work with the audience. Much depends on how skillful the ambassador is, how competently he is able to defend his point of view, how loyal his followers are to him.
- Emotional culture, charisma and attractiveness. The Ambassador must give the right emotion. In addition, attractive, charismatic people have been shown to generate more trust.
The audience should be imbued with trust in the ambassador, be willing to follow him and inherit his behavior.
Important: No matter how good the chosen candidate seems to you, it is worth doing a little check before starting a partnership. Find out more about the blogger than he can say about himself by checking him out through the trendHERO tool. In addition to metrics such as location, gender, quality and even interests of the audience, you can see how smoothly it has grown and what is the current engagement rate on the page.
How they work with them and what is the ambassador’s responsibilities
Cooperation with ambassadors is completely exclusive for both parties – the brand assigns the main role to one specific person, and the latter undertakes not to enter into such agreements with anyone else.
As a rule, a brand ambassador is not part of the company’s staff and does not take part in making important decisions regarding its life. The obligations of the parties are regulated by the contract, which clearly states the following points:
- valid and invalid actions;
- conduct in front of the press;
- Acceptable Internet Ambassador Activity;
- style of behavior;
- regularity of brand mentions;
- frequency of presentations;
- Ambassador bonuses and rewards;
- compensation in case of hitches;
- terms of termination of the contract.
The responsibilities of an ambassador are broader than those of a brand person or an advertising blogger. If it is enough for the latter to spend a few hours on a photo session or post a post, then the ambassador has neither regulated working hours, nor clearly defined responsibilities.
Agree, you can’t love sports on weekdays from 9:00 to 18:00 and demonstrate it in every possible way, and spend the whole weekend on the couch. People who follow the ambassador’s life will immediately feel false. Therefore, it is often necessary to negotiate almost everything individually. A brand ambassador must adhere to certain rules, communication style, and carry the brand values around the clock.
Cooperation with ambassadors often implies a complete ban on the use of similar products of competitors, and even more so their public promotion. Which is quite logical, because who will believe the person who advertises Adidas, and he himself wears Reebok.
Potential risks for both the ambassador and the company
Many companies, despite the fact that they produce a really high-quality product, cannot reach the hearts of consumers. This is where brand ambassadors come in handy. But there are risks everywhere. It is necessary to very competently think over the strategy of cooperation and take a responsible approach to the choice of the ambassador. Scandalous events in the life of one side of cooperation automatically cast a shadow on the other.
Imagine that you are collaborating with a famous model who, on behalf of your brand, demonstrates the values of preserving the environment and nature during the day, and in the evening at a social event, she flaunts in a polar fox fur coat. What will existing brand loyalists think of you?
Similar risks apply to the media personality. The brand ambassador, in fact, vouches for the quality of products with its reputation and acts as its guarantor. In the event that a product or brand gets into an unpleasant scandal, this will certainly affect the reputation and level of trust in its ambassador.
How to understand that you do not suit each other
Not all collaboration is doomed to success. It’s safe to say that an ambassador and a brand will not work together if they have completely different views on things. For example, the public will be, to put it mildly, strange to see how their favorite athlete, who has been campaigning for a healthy lifestyle all the time, is now advertising a burger. Such cooperation will not be organic, will not bring a marketing effect for the brand and will cause discomfort for the ambassador.
Collaboration can be negative even if the ambassador is not an active brand user. Many of us remember the incident with Timati, when, being the ambassador of YotaPhone, he was caught with a selfie on an iPhone.
There are several “NOTs” in collaboration for the company. You won’t work: if:
- cooperation is built exclusively on a commercial basis.
- the ambassador is not an active consumer of the company’s product.
- the ambassador is promoting everything.
- the ambassador does not communicate or communicates disrespectfully with his audience.
- the person does not want and does not know how to work, does not want to learn and delve into the marketing strategy of the company.
It is a little easier for ambassadors in this matter – it is enough to agree only to cooperation with their favorite brands and on attractive terms.
How to effectively work with ambassadors
The Ambassador is a great opportunity to show the human face of your brand to both current and future customers. But it depends only on you and your actions how successful this cooperation will be. We can only give a few steps-recommendations on the way to successful cooperation.
- Decide on a goal. It is important to understand what result you want to get from cooperation. Increasing sales or awareness or showing off a new image? Even if you need everything at once, it is important to identify a key goal and pursue it.
- Choose the right ambassador. There is no “recipe” for a good ambassador. Experiment, be creative! The main thing is that the ambassador is interesting and really can convey your idea to people. Of course, at the same time, his audience should be lively, and not cheated.
- Think about the rewards. It’s fair to say that the quality of the ambassador’s work depends on the generosity of the rewards. Motivate him.
- Improve. Do not stand still, come up with something new, offer ambassadors closed sales, excursions to production, participation in various events. A brand ambassador can only give the right emotion if he enjoys the collaboration.
- Let go. This does not mean that you need to let things go. But the ambassador needs to be given the opportunity to express his position in his own manner, and not in the “ideal language” of PR people.
Examples and Cases
History already knows many successful examples of cooperation with ambassadors. First, let’s look at world practice. For example, the American fashion blogger and model Anna O’Brien became the Ambassador of the Academy Sports and Outdoors this year. And this very bold and creative collaboration is clearly a success, although at first it caused a storm of criticism.
The fact is that the girl weighs 150 kg, which should have become an obstacle for the brand of clothing for sports and tourism. But Anna managed to show that you can approach your weight ironically and you need to love yourself for who you are. Her favorite clothing brand will always help solve the problem.
Another striking example of successful cooperation is the collaboration between Reebok and Qxxximiron. Their common mission is to spread urban culture to the masses. Promotion of the brand among the multi-million army of fans of the artist, who in every way strive to be like an idol, as well as the release of a limited series of sneakers as part of the collaboration was clearly a successful idea.
Rapper Oksimiron is Reebok Brand Ambassador
The collaboration of Brooks Brothers menswear brand with the popular Instagram blogger Mike Mellia, who became famous for his creative looping videos, was also crowned with success. In his works, Mike places a static picture with only one moving element – a fire in a fireplace, turning a page or stroking a lamb. And although the number of Mike’s followers is small (just over 5 thousand), they were all the target audience of the brand, and the looped video attracts attention.
There are many examples of successful cooperation – blogger Katya Klep and MTV Russia, footballer Pele and sneakers Puma, Chanel and Keira Knightley, IOWA group and Lenovo Vibe Shot, Louis Vuitton and the razor-haired Lighting girl from among the virtual influencers.
Pele Footballer and Puma Sneakers
There are also unfortunate examples of ambassadorship. For example, the same Timati with a fail from the IPhone, or Yegor Creed, who, when advertising Samsung, often put his “love” for the brand under attack by showing photos taken using an iOS application.
Pros and Cons
Cooperation with ambassadors has many advantages over traditional advertising and gives the brand a number of privileges:
- the living face of the brand, followed by;
- Trusted Native Ads
- new loyal audience;
- reinforcing the brand’s reputation with the reputation of an ambassador;
- an opportunity to convey the idea of the company to the heart of the target audience.
Among the negative aspects, addiction can be distinguished. Both the brand and the ambassador depend on each other’s actions. Mistakes or careless statements by one cast a shadow on the other. Of course, sometimes black PR can play into the hands, but more often its consequences have to be neutralized for a very long time. It is much easier to take a responsible approach to the choice of an ambassador right away and try to take into account all the details in the contract.
Promotion through brand ambassadors is one of the brightest trends in external communications. It is not surprising, because such cooperation can motivate a brand-supportive audience to buy. There are many excellent examples of such collaboration, but how successful a campaign really is depends only on your actions and decisions.