Influencer marketing continues to grow in prevalence and size, with brands shifting towards more personalized, human methods of advertising to connect with their audience. But, influencers aren’t the only tactic within the industry capable of providing value to your brand.
Meet the brand ambassador.
Known as the more formalized, corporate iteration of an influencer, brand ambassadors are the ultimate brand disciples – fueled by a genuine love for your brand, and committed to spreading the word. In this post, we focus on the ins and outs of the brand ambassador role to help you determine if it’s the right fit for your marketing strategy.
What is a Brand Ambassador?
Brand ambassadors are individuals employed by a business to represent its brand. Their purpose is to generate greater brand awareness and ultimately drive more sales. Brand ambassadors are invested in the growth and success of the brand they represent and their impact goes beyond sharing sponsored posts. Brand ambassador endorsement is genuine and driven by an affinity for what the brand stands for. This deeply rooted loyalty is one reason why brand ambassadors typically maintain long-term or ongoing relationships with the brands they represent.
The best brand ambassadors tend to have a working knowledge of word-of-mouth marketing, are able to network on a brand’s behalf, engage large audiences, and influence action among target audiences.
Understanding the Difference
While the term ‘brand ambassador’ is often used interchangeably with ‘influencer’, the two roles have very distinct responsibilities and value propositions for a brand. The table below covers the most common differences between each, as well as the commonly associated role of ‘affiliate partner.’
Evaluating Your Brand Needs
To determine whether a brand ambassador program is right for your brand, you’ll first need to conduct a S.W.O.T analysis; a high-level evaluation of your brand’s current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This analysis provides a self-reflective “progress report” of your brand, helping to identify any critical gaps in your marketing strategy where the support of a brand ambassador may prove most valuable.
Running a SWOT
Here’s how a simple S.W.O.T. analysis shakes out:
- Strengths: Which areas in your current marketing strategy are doing well?
- Weaknesses: Which areas in your current marketing strategy are lacking?
- Opportunities: How can you pivot any current weaknesses into opportunities to expand your marketing strategy?
- Threats: What obstacles currently stand in the way of your marketing strategy?
You can use this audit when looking to implement any new marketing tactic, but for the purposes at hand, let’s narrow our lens to influence marketing, and when activating a brand ambassador program may make the most sense. Here’s an example:
- Strengths: Your brand has a strong fan base of customers who love and endorse your brand organically on social media.
- Weaknesses: You have inconsistently published branded content as well as insufficient user-generated product feedback and insights to leverage in your social strategy.
- Opportunities: You could better leverage your existing group of fans and launch a brand ambassador program that offers rewards and exclusives for brand loyalty. You could have brand ambassadors test new products and poll their insights.
- Threats: Budget restraints resulting in not being able to invest in paid partnerships at the moment.
Brand Ambassador Programs We Love
Brand ambassador programs are a big hit across all industries, so be sure to do a bit of research within your niche to find similar brand programs for a touch of inspiration. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Glossier Referral Program: More along the lines of an affiliate partnership, Glossier customers earn promotional reward credits toward future purchases by referring friends or family members to the brand.
- Madewell Fam: Launched in May, Madewell’s new brand ambassador program will feature four ambassadors highlighting social causes through co-branded content.
- Moment Squad: A hybrid program of sorts, Moment’s brand ambassador program provides a community for creatives to network, gain exclusive access to new products and brand news, and earn a commission for any referrals.
- PLANOLY Affiliate Program: Our affiliate program features access to our team for support needs, discounts, exclusive content, and tools to grow your brand. And as a thank you for spreading the word of PLANOLY, you’ll earn 10% commission for every user who signs up for a paid plan with your unique referral link.
Launching a brand ambassador program is a cost-effective and authentic way to attract new customers and foster lasting relationships with existing customers. Consumers value and trust the opinions of real people, like brand ambassadors, who genuinely endorse a brand and actually utilize their products. If your brand is already established and boasts a strong, dedicated group of customers who love your brand, launching a brand ambassador program is definitely a worthwhile option to consider as part of your marketing strategy.