photo credit: Underwear for Men
Brand ambassadors are a great way for any company to grow its online and offline business. A brand ambassador is defined as someone who is passionate about a brand or product and shares their love on their own accord.
As more business transactions are conducted online, the consumer journey gets further fragmented. Having a strong brand ambassador program has become an increasingly important part of your marketing campaigns for two reasons:
The following outlines best practices for choosing and maintaining a relationship with the right brand ambassador.
How to Select a Brand Ambassador
A brand ambassador’s sole purpose is to present your company in a positive light. A brand ambassador should be someone that gets people excited about your company and gets them drinking your brand’s Kool-Aid.
When the right person is selected, a brand ambassador will increase overall brand awareness and sales. If your brand ambassador is going to be the face and the voice of the company, select someone that represents your customers. The ambassador has to be someone they can relate to.
If you want your brand ambassador to help grow your social media presence, select someone with a large network of active social media followers, but make sure those followers represent your customers too.
Since not all marketing budgets allow for top dollar endorsements deals, a brand ambassador isn’t just someone you hire to be your spokesperson. A brand ambassador program can include your customers and employees.
When targeting your customers to become brand ambassadors, it is important to define what you want them to do. Brand ambassadors can appear in ad campaigns, give testimonials, attend corporate events, write content, submit photos featuring your products, and so much more.
Once you determine the role, invite your customers to participate in the evolution of the brand. You can do this by sending email blasts, and by posting messages on your website and social media profiles.
At the start of the year, my company created a contest to search for our next brand ambassador. To find someone that truly represented our customers, we leveraged our Facebook fans. We quickly discovered our customers were thrilled to submit photos and videos that we could use in our marketing efforts. The program continues to evolve and now includes a dedicated page on our website that allows customers to submit photos and videos in return for discounts and complimentary product.
In addition to customers, another great place to find ambassadors is within your company. The person at the top, the person who answers the messaging apps, and the person who makes the sales calls, has the power to be an effective brand ambassador, once you arm them with the right tools.
By meeting regularly, you can ensure everyone says the same things about the company. Share corporate success stories and anecdotes so they can craft a message that is natural for them to share while they are going about their day. Encourage them to support all of your social media efforts by publishing a calendar of key dates and promotions.
What Should You Expect to Pay
When hiring someone an ambassador, in addition to compensation for duties, it is typical for a company to pay travel expenses (i.e., flight, hotel and rental car) to and from events. Some ambassadors require first class flights and per diem. Be sure to create a contract outlining everyone’s expectations.
While brand ambassadors can be paid for their work, not all require compensation. Some do it because they simply love your brand. If you are compensating for participation, evaluate the investment the same as any other form of media — what you put out should be proportional to what you put in. If you are not compensating for participation, make sure your brand ambassadors have access to free product and other perks you can throw their way.
Maintaining a Relationship
Maintaining a relationship with a brand ambassador requires relationship building. You should regularly check in with your ambassadors to ensure they are still “excited” about your company. Once a month is a good place to start to ensure you are not over or under-communicating
It is very important for your ambassadors to know what is expected of them. In the contract outlining your expectations, include a work and event schedule. If they are generating content for your website, make sure they know the deadlines and send reminders. If they are attending events, make sure they know what to wear, who to talk to, and what to say.
When someone knows they are helping move the needle, it motivates them. Be sure to send event follow-ups and clippings (photo and video recaps). Make sure they are the first ones to know about company news.
The key to growing any corporation lies in having a strong team that can execute with results. Whether you decide to hire an outside spokesperson, engage customers or leverage employees, it comes down to consistency and dependability. If the messaging is consistent and the promises made are things your customers can depend on, your brand ambassadors’ efforts will generate results.
John Polidan is the Chief Executive Officer of Underwear For Men and regularly offers advise to startups and entrepreneurs on business leadership, marketing, prototypes, patents and lean manufacturing. To read John’s startup story, visit: www.ufmunderwear.com. For his LinkedIn profile, visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-polidan-42936715
Bio: John Jantsch is a marketing consultant and author of Duct Tape Marketing[www.ducttapemarketing.com] and The Referral Engine[www.referralenginebook.com] and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.[www.ducttapemarketingconsultant.com]