Word-of-mouth marketing simply remains one of the most effective marketing tools, however, brands can’t afford to simply sit around hoping that consumers will talk about their products and need to take matters into their own hands.
Enter brand ambassador programmes, where the passion and enthusiasm fans have for a brand is harnessed to market the brand’s products. Ambassadors are basically fans of a brand who are appointed to advocate the brand’s products.
By building a community of like-minded individuals that have great affinity with your brand, you are planting seeds among the common population to increase conversations related to your brand. In essence, brand ambassador programmes amount to word-of-mouth marketing amplified.
For a brand ambassador programme to be successful, the ambassadors recruited need to not just have a great love for the brand but must also be a true embodiment of the brand’s values and goals. Take Lululemon, an athletic apparel brand, which employs the slogan “To elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness.” Lululemon’s ambassadors are encouraged to always perform the best and be role models for others to look up to. This not just ensures that the association between brand and influencer can be drawn very easily, but also allows any brand promotion content to feel very authentic.
Here are 7 reasons to have a brand ambassador programme!
1. Greater Drive To Succeed
Unlike one-off posts where influencers are paid to simply dedicate a post or two to a brand’s products, ambassadors have a long-running relationship with the brand. They are not seen simply as tools to market a brand’s product but are seen as part of the brand’s family. Thus, they would want the brand to do well as they are more invested in it and some even consider it their responsibility to promote the brand. This ultimately results in greater dedication and effort from the ambassador when it comes to brand promotion.
2. Greater Loyalty
Due to their affinity with the particular brand, marketers can rest assured that their ambassadors will likely stay with them in the long-run and not get poached by competitors. Additional perks and benefits provided by the brand will further increase ambassadors’ loyalty to a particular brand.
Secondly, due to the “Loyalty Ripple Effect”, loyal customers tend to talk a great deal about a brand and, hence, will likely persuade others to become regular customers. In the case of the Maker’s Mark’s Brand Ambassador Program, ambassadors feel such a sense of commitment to the brand that apart from advocating about the product to others, they actively thank establishments that sell Maker’s mark and petition any not selling the bourbon.
3. Cost Effective
Brand ambassador programmes can be very cost effective as most people want to become brand ambassadors for the perks, discounts and exclusivity afforded to them and not because of monetary gain. Some do not even desire any rewards but simply association with the brand.
Maker’s Mark gives its ambassadors perks like business cards, access to exclusive events and the opportunity to burn their name into the side of a bourbon barrel from which they can purchase a bottle of. In return, ambassadors help to inculcate their knowledge of Maker’s Mark bourbon to family friends and acquaintances.
4. Channels of Feedback from Consumers
Ambassadors don’t just work as channels to generate brand awareness but also as channels of creative input. As they are in frequent contact with the consumers, they may gain information on what consumers like. As ‘eyes on the outside’ they can tell brands of trends and hot topics that should be addressed to better cater to consumers.
5. Improved Brand Sentiment Among Consumers
Having ambassadors as a part of your brand puts a brand in a positive light among consumers as they will be seen as using their vast amount of resources to support like-minded influencers in pursuing their passion in the field.
6. Effectiveness of Influence (Organic vs Paid)
While a paid influencer can deliver the same message as a brand ambassador, they usually lack the authenticity of someone that has used and loved the product. You may have seen some sponsored posts go “I have sensitive skin and never thought I would find a moisturiser suited for me, until today. Now I use…” or “I am always on the move and find it hard to get my daily vitamins. But now…” Ambassadors are able to cut through this clutter and reveal the properties of the products with much greater credibility and not present it simply as a miracle cure.
In the case of one-off paid posts, there is the tendency of the influence wearing off after users have scrolled past it. However, due to the long-term nature of ambassador programmes where ambassadors will regularly talk about products by the brand, fans of the ambassador will start developing affinity with the brand and eventually become regular customers.
7. PR and Customer Service
Brand ambassadors act as pseudo PR and customer service representatives that help consumers of the brand with any niggling issues that they are faced with. If a consumer is unable to get the desired results from a skincare product that they had just bought, they can reach out to brand ambassadors to seek advice on what might have gone wrong.
If you are thinking about the hassle of managing a large number of ambassadors, don’t fret because you can always start small. You could simply pick a few that strongly believe in your brand and your programme could gradually grow in numbers. This could be your secret weapon in attracting consumers to your brand!
Stay tuned for the next article where we will talk about how to adopt a good brand ambassador campaign!