Brand ambassador programs are the new and improved use-a-celebrity marketing tactic. They help you build the face of your brand, thus making it more relatable to your audience. Here’s why:
Brand ambassadors share a personal connection with your brand. When they become your brands’ spokespeople, they build stories around your company. As this organic enthusiasm protrudes your audience’s subconscious minds, more people will buy your products.
We’ll discuss some brand ambassador examples below and the lessons you can learn from each. Some of these brand ambassador programs started as influencer marketing campaigns and turned into long term partnerships where influencers became brand advocates after building trust with the brand.
1. Maybelline It Girls
Maybelline It Girls is one of the best examples of showcasing a compact team of brand ambassadors. These people share sincere opinions about Maybelline with their followers because they have direct experience with this brand.
Case in point: the New York Fashion Week.
Maybelline reunited essential brand ambassadors that fit with their brand and have high levels of trust:
- Make-up artists
Here’s why this strategy works:
1. Young women see glamorous models they resonate with.
One example is Victoria Kimani, a famous singer and songwriter from Kenya. She symbolizes equality, hope, and strong femininity in a world now defined by the BLM awareness movement. To this extent, her posts juxtapose Maybelline and #blackgirlmagic. Therefore, BLM supporters – mainly Gen Z – are more likely to buy Maybelline products.
2. Other tactics that support this strategy include regular posts about Maybelline and event photos. Maybelline features their ambassadors all the time, on its website, its social media, and so forth. Each ambassador speaks from their heart, making sure to connect the brand with its potential customers.
3. The brand’s ambassadors receive a name. This strategy is powerful not just because it builds recognition. The name helps build an ideal, as more people want to become like these ambassadors. Besides, this name defines the Maybelline community with its stories and values.
But here’s the crucial aspect:
When you’re defining a community of loyal members, you’re also separating it from outsiders. That way, you’re:
- Strengthening the feeling of belonging. Customers are less likely to choose another brand. They’ll also become the voices of your brand as they build organic content.
- Increasing the outsiders’ need to become part of your brand. This higher demand makes your brand wanted but also exclusive.
2. Mogo.ca Brand Ambassador Program
Mogo employs micro-influencers to advertise their Bitcoin-related products and other services. Inbeat Canada helps Mogo with its brand ambassador programs. Creators like Carter Sullivan have a loyal following of young adults interested in budgeting, finance, and lifestyle:
Mogo knows that Millenials and Gen-Z are more likely to take an interest in Bitcoin. The bias against these generations is that they’re irresponsible when it comes to financing.
Here’s what you can learn from the Mogo Ambassador Program:
1. Become your audience’s number one supporter. Mogo becomes a supporter of their audience by admitting that, although young adults may have different priorities, they lead organized lifestyles.
2. Use trustworthy micro-influencers that connect to their audience. Carter Sullivan relates to her audience because she knows financial education is limited in high school.
The Mogo app has lots of learning resources on sustainable spending. All these tidbits of information are simple and easy to access, exactly what young adults want.
Click here to learn how to track a brand ambassador program.
3. YouTube is an excellent medium for showing how your product works. For instance, Carter Sullivan discusses how Mogo helped keep her credit score up. Plus, she did that without cutting back on so-called “unnecessary expenses,” such as coffee dates.
4. Videos convey emotions through verbal and nonverbal cues. Micro-influencers on platforms like YouTube can attract more paying customers thanks to their display of emotions because:
- It’s easier to disagree with written text because your brain only perceives information. Thus, it operates at a rational level.
- Emotions operate at a subconscious level. If you’re mirroring the speaker’s emotions, you feel what they feel. So, you’re more likely to experience certain products or brands the same way they do.
Carter Sullivan is very expressive when discussing Mogo. She uses ample hand gestures and widens her eyes to punctuate information. Carter also says “love” frequently when talking about Mogo apps’ services.
5. Associate your brand with an essential issue in your audience’s life. Young adults are interested in topics like global warming, so they support eco-friendly brands. That’s why Carter Sullivan explains how Mogo can help people reduce their carbon footprints.
6. Give something back to your customers. Have your brand ambassadors explain all the things that your audience gets. Work on Maslow’s pyramid:
- Physiological needs: Mogo promises free $5 to buy sats when you register, plus Bitcoin cashback when transacting.
- Safety needs: Mogo keeps your spending habits in check so that you can avoid debt.
- Belongingness: Improving your spending habits helps you spend more quality time with friends. Besides, you’re a responsible global citizen because you’re helping reduce the Planet’s carbon footprint.
- Esteem needs: Mogo’s customers benefit from personal improvement through financial education.
- Self-actualization: You’re becoming a better person through your improved habits and knowledge.
3. Amex Brand Ambassadors
Amex Instagram brand ambassador program aims at showing users how to use American Express services. The strategy is to speak to as many audiences as possible. Thus, American Express uses micro-influencers from all industries.
But here’s the gist:
Everyone needs a credit card. Whether you’re a teacher, business owner, or globetrotter, you need the best offers.
Amex ambassadors’ Instagram posts work because they emphasize usability. For example, Julia Engel is a popular micro-influencers known for her travel and fashion advice. Her ambassador posts discuss the advantages of Amex Platinum when traveling abroad.
Here’s what you can learn from this example:
1. Employ micro-influencers that use your brand because they have first-hand experience with it. They can show your audience how your products work in all possible situations.
2. Make sure micro-influencers deliver valuable insights. Your audience wants to understand your product’s competitive edge.
3. Brand ambassadors should discuss how your products can meet your audience’s core needs. People don’t care about why your product is excellent. They want to see how it’s excellent for them.
4. Images have powerful rhetoric. Mediums like Instagram or YouTube juxtapose text and image, thus imbuing emotions into your narrative. The old adage “seeing is believing” gains new connotations in today’s world.
4. The North Face Brand Ambassador Program
The North Face uses prominent names in outdoor sports. People like Ashima Shiraishi, Rory Bosio, and Juan Martinez are record-setters, but they have something else in common:
For example, Rory Bosio was unknown until she won the 104-mile race around Mont Blanc. Juan Martinez immigrated from Mexico, where his poor life helped create a powerful connection to the environment.
So here’s the lesson:
1. Choose relatable ambassadors that can personify your brand.
You can do that if you deconstruct your brand on dimensions like:
- Mission and vision
2. Remember that the purpose is to find your brand’s archetype. Next, choose brand ambassadors that represent facets or different personalities of this archetype.
Notice how North Face’s ambassadors:
- Come from modest backgrounds.
- Are used to living challenging lives.
As a result, they:
- Crave to push their limits.
- Feel wholly fulfilled outdoors.
- Have a real need to share this feeling with their audience.
3. Go back to the origins to find the right storytelling tactics. Once you get relatable micro-influencers that personify your brand, finding the right platform is easy.
For example, The North Face ambassadors use:
These instruments are powerful because North Face’s audience doesn’t just want pretty sports clothes. They’re passionate about the outdoors, and they want to connect with nature.
The North Face quenches their thirst for adventure with man’s earliest solution: stories.
5. Phone Loops
Inbeat also set up phone Loops’ brand ambassador campaign. This company’s product, aka the straps that attach to your phone, address an essential issue:
Unlike old Nokia models, smartphones break when they fall.
So, whenever you choose a brand ambassador, make sure their content emphasizes your brand’s essential promise. Repeating this promise is a reliable strategy because:
- Your brand gains notoriety.
- The recall is faster and easier.
- People start believing what you’re saying.
Here’s why repetition’s main rhetorical result is instilling belief:
When people first see or hear something, they may be wary. If lots of people use that product, it becomes ordinary. Next, if trustworthy micro-influencers recommend that thing, it becomes desirable.
So, the Phone Loops primary lesson is:
If you have a new, innovative product move your audience on these levels:
Wariness → acceptance → want
Phone Loops Instagram strategy was to showcase micro-influencers using their product in lots of everyday situations, such as:
- In planes’ bathrooms
- On boats
- In moving cars
- Taking selfies with their families
You can see hundreds of such pictures and videos. Brand ambassadors recommend this product, with excellent insight into its uses.
Most importantly, micro-influencers share relatable problems that Phone Loops helped solve.
Here are other lessons from Phone Loops if you have an innovative product:
- Explain how it works to dispel wariness.
- Show your brand ambassadors using this product in various situations to build acceptance. Make sure to get lots of ambassadors, too. For example, Inbeat hires 100+ brand ambassadors for Phone Loops each month.
- Try an online game or dare to instill want. For example, Phone Loops has the “selfie game.”
The brand ambassador examples above work because they employ several tactics to build a loyal audience.
Martin Lindstrom discussed this over a decade ago when he compared brands to religion.
This comparison may seem exaggerated, but you can notice some of its points in the strategies we discussed above.
One example is building an archetype for your brand. Your brand ambassadors are not only your voices; they personify your values – that’s what Carter Sullivan did for Mogo.
Another example is building a common narrative through various “legends.” North Face does that each time it publishes another one of its athlete’s stories. Customers identify with these legends and create their own.
Giving a name to your community of loyal followers is also crucial to create a sense of belonging to a group. That’s what Maybelline does with its “Maybelline Girls.”
Examples of Best and Worst Brand Ambassador Programs
Some famous brand ambassador programs include:
- North Face Athletes. These micro-influencers empower exploration and self-improvement. They connect with their audience through interviews and podcasts.
- Mogo.ca. The campaign speaks to young adults who want to take charge of finances. The app has various resources for sustainable spending, plus free perks.
- Starbucks. Its university mobile tour generated increased brand awareness. The results included 677,000 more direct social engagements.
- Phone Loops. Inbeat concerted a slew of Instagram micro-influencers that popularize the phone loops invention. As this gadget is a new idea, the first step is to accustom people to it. The second is to make it desirable.
- Canon’s Explorers of Light. Canon partnered with professional photographers to advertise their products. Then, it started throwing people off airplanes in a swift advertising move that won them the limelight.
Of course, the list can go on.
But here’s what happens when you do things wrong:
The Kendall Jenner - Pepsi fiasco. If you’re going to tie yourself with a massive movement like BLM, make sure your brand ambassador is an archetype of that movement. Otherwise, people will boycott your products.
Katie Price, aka Jordan, and Snickers. The “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign had model Katie Price’s post about socio-economic-political matters out of her area of expertise. While some customers complained about misleading ads, others noticed anti-feminist practices when the marketing ploy came out.
Scott Disick and BooTea Shake. The TV personality copy-pasted the marketing instructions on his Insta, showing his lack of loyalty to the product.
Chriselle Lim and Volvo. Some critics claim her posts are too staged and focused on Volvo’s product. Other people claim that Volvo’s an emission-free car and that Chriselle is endorsing the brand for money.
Raline Shah, Miguelina Gambaccini, and the California Fires. In 2018, Raline Shah used hashtags and keywords related to the California fires to get more clicks for the brand she was promoting.
Brand ambassadors generate original content about your brand on Instagram. This content helps you strengthen your connection with existing customers, gain new ones, or solve image crises.
Well-chosen Instagram influencers are trustworthy, engaging, and insightful. However, you need to plan your campaign to a T. We discuss more about that here.
This section analyzed how to pick the right influencers, your contract’s terms, and practical strategies. We also discussed stellar brand ambassador programs and massive failures.
If you need more help, inBeat is just a click away.
Even if you saw how useful a brand ambassador program could be for your company, you may still be wary of it. Some marketers avoid trying these programs because they think measuring their results is almost impossible.
But that’s not always the case.
If you know what you’re expecting and set quantifiable goals, you can easily track your brand ambassador program’s success.
But there’s one other thing to remember:
Choose the right channel to communicate with your audience.
In the next section, we’ll tell you how to build an Instagram brand ambassador program.