Brand ambassadors are a core component of influencer marketing for brands. With the increased focus on marketing on digital and social media platforms, as well as the trend of consumers placing a greater emphasis on trust and personal recommendations, these creators are crucial to the bigger picture of marketing strategy as a whole. To get the most out of your influencer marketing, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of what a brand ambassador is, why they matter, and how to go about finding the best one for your brand.
So, just what is a brand ambassador?
A brand ambassador is a person or figure that represents a brand and promotes it to prospective customers. In addition to creating sponsored content on behalf of the brand, unlike regular influencers, their role is to create a positive association with the brand and boost their brand awareness and loyalty amongst their audience, thereby generating sales and increased business for the brand. Brand ambassadors might be direct employees of a brand or company, or, more commonly, may be external individuals who receive compensation in the form of payment, products, and more in exchange for their representation of the brand.
Brand ambassadors usually use a range of approaches and techniques to help promote the brand such as posting about them and their offerings on social media, attending launch or promo events, or creating dedicated content for the brand’s website or social media channels. Effectively, a brand ambassador acts as a ‘face’ of the brand and is more closely associated with them than an influencer who takes part in a regular paid ad campaign.
Brand ambassadors provide crucial benefits to businesses
As mentioned above, brand ambassadors form an important part of a brand’s marketing strategy due to their ability and potential to increase brand awareness, loyalty, and overall credibility and trust in consumers’ eyes. Depending on your brand’s industry, objectives, and target market, brand ambassadors can greatly aid your influencer marketing goals. Some of the primary ways in which a brand ambassador can help your business include:
Word-of-mouth marketing. As advocates for your company, brand ambassadors will share their positive experiences with the brand with their friends and followers. This can be especially effective because people are far more likely to trust recommendations from people they know and respect.
Social proof: Simply seeing others using and enjoying a given product or service can positively boost the perceived value and credibility of the brand. Since brand ambassadors will be seen engaging with your product, it will reinforce this ‘social proof’ in the eyes of those who view their content.
Increased reach: Because brand ambassadors have an established following and network, their promotion of your product will naturally improve your brand’s reach and help bring new customers your way.
Customer engagement: As most influencers operate on social media platforms where they engage and interact with their followers, brand ambassadors can help to create a more personal connection and association with your brand by answering questions their audience may have about your offering.
Insights and feedback: Ambassadors have the added benefit of being able to provide valuable insights and feedback to your brand based on their personal experiences with the product or service. This can help you to better understand if your product is meeting expectations, or to make improvements where necessary, either before the product goes out to consumers or during the product’s lifecycle.
Types of brand ambassadors
There are a handful of different types of ambassadors, each with their own unique purpose and responsibilities. Understanding the differences between them can help you choose the right type for your brand’s goals and marketing strategy – not to mention budget.
First is the internal brand ambassador. These are typically employees of the company that represent the brand to outside parties such as customers and other stakeholders and are usually involved in activities such as product launches and demonstrations, customer service, or sales.
Directly juxtaposing this is the external brand ambassador. These are figures who are not employees of the company, but rather receive compensation to represent the company in the form of payments and complementary products. These are usually influencers, bloggers, or other public figures.
Next up is the celebrity brand ambassador. These are major, well-known public figures who promote a brand in exchange for payment. Due to their status and notoriety, celebrities may be used to promote a brand to a far wider audience and generate buzz.
Another type is the partner brand ambassador. These are organizations or individuals that regularly work with a brand, such as retailers, distributors, or strategic partners. Partners may represent the brand at specific events, or even through their own marketing efforts.
Finally, we have the customer brand ambassador. As the name suggests, these are customers of the brand who have a genuine interest and enthusiasm for their products or services and are willing to promote them to others. Companies may incentivize this type of ambassador through the use of loyalty programs or other types of rewards.
How to choose the right brand ambassadors
Finding and selecting the right ambassador for your brand is a crucial part of any successful marketing strategy. While there are a handful of approaches you can use to ensure you find the right fit, we’ve compiled 5 handy tips for you to keep in mind during this process.
Identify the target audience for the brand. It's important to choose brand ambassadors who resonate with the brand's target audience. This will help to ensure that the brand's message is being effectively communicated to the right people.
Look for individuals who align with the brand's values and message. By choosing brand ambassadors who genuinely support the brand and its mission, you can help ensure that all promotion and messaging is authentic and believable.
Consider the influence and reach of potential brand ambassadors. Choose brand ambassadors who have a large and engaged following to help maximize the brand's reach and increase its visibility. It’s important that you focus on the engagement part of this, as simply seeking out creators with a large audience may not yield the results you seek if their audience doesn’t interact with their content.
Look for diversity. It can be beneficial to select brand ambassadors who represent a variety of demographics and backgrounds. This will help to ensure that the brand's message is inclusive and resonates with a wider audience.
Don’t forget about your brand’s budget. When selecting a brand ambassador, it’s vital that you keep costs in mind. This will help ensure that you can both compensate the ambassador fairly for their work, as well as keep part of your budget aside for other necessary components of your marketing efforts.
Examples of successful brand ambassador campaigns
Of course, nothing helps to drive a point home quite like a good success story. It’s also a great reference point to learn from other brands’ strategies and incorporate them into your own marketing endeavors.
A well-known example is that of the collaboration between Nike and LeBron James: Nike has a long history of using celebrity brand ambassadors to promote its products, and one of its most successful was their partnership with NBA player LeBron James. Nike went on to use James in numerous marketing campaigns including conventional ads, social media campaigns, and special edition product releases. This partnership not only boosted Nike’s already-established brand awareness but helped to boost their sales as well. Due to Nike’s positioning as a trendy lifestyle and sporting brand, the decision to partner with LeBron James was a logical and effective one.
There are two more prominent recent examples of brand ambassador successes for major brands. In 2021, Coca-Cola announced that Jennifer Aniston would be the new face of the brand. The campaign, which featured Aniston in a series of ads and social media posts, was designed to promote the brand's new Seltzer line and proved successful when it came to getting the word out about this new product, contributing positively to sales. Also in 2021, Airbnb announced that Gwyneth Paltrow would be joining as a brand ambassador for the company to promote Airbnb's home-sharing service. The brand’s visibility and credibility saw a positive upward trend as a result.
Time to find your next brand ambassador!
It’s evident that in today’s climate, brand ambassadors form a major part of a company's marketing strategy because of their ability to increase brand awareness, credibility, loyalty, and of course, sales. There are several different types of brand ambassadors, and understanding each of these can help you better tailor your brand’s marketing approach. When searching for your next ambassador, it’s important to identify your target audience and look for individuals who align with your brand’s values whilst prioritizing those who can maximize potential influence and reach – not forgetting about your budget, of course!
We hope that the information and tips outlined in this article have you feeling both motivated and prepared to incorporate brand ambassadors in your marketing strategy.