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A brand ambassador program is like having an army of spokespeople willing to vouch for your company. 90% of shoppers already trust their peers more than branded content, so why shouldn’t you leverage that statistic?
This article teaches you how to launch a brand ambassador program to reach your marketing goals seamlessly.
We’ll also discuss the benefits you can expect and the differences between this program and an influencer marketing campaign, with plenty of examples and practical lessons.
Keep reading below.
A brand ambassador program is a specific marketing strategy that entails creating long-term relationships with brand ambassadors – spokespeople who vouch for your brand.
Remember: You are not simply handing your company’s communication to your potential ambassadors. You still need to fuel this campaign with a plan.
That plan should be based on:
Successful brand ambassador programs have many benefits. We’ll analyze them below with plenty of examples to understand how these programs work.
Like influencers, brand ambassadors’ main communication channels are social media platforms.
Your ambassadors will help you leverage social media platforms, especially if they already have considerable followings. Promoting your company to their audience naturally builds your credibility and opens your company to a new market.
Pro tip: Your ambassadors may use different channels, which is perfectly okay as long as your prospects use the same platforms.
For example, your potential customers might not be browsing Instagram for three hours per day but might attend conferences and events.
Lesson learned: That’s why you should always select the right ambassadors starting from your marketing goals – not the other way around.
This type of program helps you build a loyal brand community. That represents an advantage because:
Warning: Not all brand ambassadors can rally loyal communities around them.
You need someone:
Lesson learned: Among the many types of influencers, those with smaller followings have higher engagement rates because they spend more time interacting with people. If you want to build a strong brand community, you need someone who can create those tight-knit, authentic relationships.
Brand ambassadors are (or should be) already perceived as reliable experts in their fields; when you partner with these people, their credibility will transfer to your brand too.
Depending on your marketing goals, building authority and trust can be important for you if:
Note: Solving a need people didn’t realize they have requires a different type of message than regaining authority after a PR crisis.
Lessons learned: Develop your social media communication plan starting from your goals.
Effective brand ambassadors know their audience, which is also your audience. Therefore, they can tap into these insights to create persuasive content that convinces people to:
Pro tip: Leverage brand ambassadors for social listening; heed their feedback, and their content will be high-quality and evergreen.
That means you can repost it for years, adapting and curating it for all your channels. Of course, you would ideally want to create a long-term relationship with your brand ambassadors; that’s one thing that differentiates them from influencers. But even so, the content they create now should be tapped into and capitalized to its fullest potential.
Lesson learned: Use the content that brand ambassadors create on different channels: your website, marketing emails, social media accounts, ads, and whatever else fits your goals.
Your brand ambassadors:
These are the right ingredients to boost sales and overcome any plateaus.
Lesson learned: Choose brand ambassadors to meet all the above objectives, which are the precursors of increased sales.
Brand ambassadors are cost-effective because:
Of course, you will have to invest some money in helping your ambassadors devise the right messages and sending them your products. Depending on your strategy, you may have to provide them transportation to and from certain events.
But the overall cost of all these marketing efforts is well below what you would spend for an ad campaign with the same results.
Lesson learned: Find someone who will work for your brand out of a passion for your products or values. That’s how you can ensure they will be okay with working relatively pro bono for your company in the long term.
Influencers can be brand ambassadors, but not all of them – and vice-versa. Some ambassadors have very reduced online followings to count as influencers.
However, your brand ambassadors will be more committed to your company in the long run. They are more passionate about your products and use them actively.
And they are most often cheaper than influencers.
Here’s the perfect example of all that:
Richard Fanders is a UK driving instructor who produces relevant content for students and drivers who want to improve their techniques.
That said, here’s a quick comparison between influencers and brand ambassadors:
There are six types of ambassador programs to consider depending on what you want to achieve ultimately:
This program resembles an influencer marketing campaign the most. Your brand ambassadors have a specific checklist with deadlines they must accomplish within a certain period (e.g., five posts per week, one event per month, etc.)
Affiliate programs are effective in boosting your sales. Your ambassadors aim to get many people to purchase your products using their affiliate links. That, in turn, gives them part of the profit.
Pro tip: You can also offer incentives to motivate affiliate brand ambassadors to reach a new sales tier.
Informal programs are open to anybody passionate about your brand and products. You won’t sign contracts or impose ambassador requirements; you will rely on your loyal spokespeople to create word of mouth. As a result, you will increase your reputation and credibility and get more referrals.
Employee-based programs are the most persuasive because:
Expert-based ambassador programs are a version of the customer-based program. But in this case, you will have to find experts who use your products and are passionate about them. This strategy builds wide-scale acceptance and credibility, boosting your sales.
If you want to attract a younger target audience, college ambassadors will help you. Besides, you can easily structure your campaign on a specific interest.
Pro tip: Use offline events and guerrilla marketing tactics to generate more buzz around your products.
Now that you know the benefits and different types of brand ambassador programs, you can start setting up your own:
All marketing campaigns need to start with clear goals because these goals are the results you want to achieve. And knowing where you want to get helps you set up the right strategy.
You will also realize which key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to track to reach those results.
Here are two examples to help you start:
KPIs for brand awareness include:
KPIs for lead generation include:
This point resembles creating a customer persona, but you will create an ambassador persona in this case. Contouring an ideal brand ambassador will also help you establish specific guidelines or expectations for your campaign.
After you have outlined your ambassadors’ ideal profiles, it’s time to find potential brand ambassadors that fit those requirements. Here’s what you can do:
After finding the right ambassadors, running your campaign is the next logical step. Keep a close relationship with your ambassadors to ensure the right content is disseminated to the right audience.
Centralize the metrics below in a spreadsheet:
Here are some tools you can use:
Recognizing someone’s achievements is essential to keep them motivated. Otherwise, your brand ambassadors will feel undervalued or not good enough to be part of your team.
The first step to recognizing your ambassadors’ achievements is personally sending them a message or email. Congratulate them, but also ask them how they did it. Their experience and feedback could be valuable for other ambassadors.
Next, offer incentives to keep them engaged:
Also, consider offering them recognition and exposure:
Once you have started your brand ambassador program, it’s time to ensure everything runs smoothly:
Once everything is on track, you can consider scaling up your ambassador campaign. For example, you can use influencer marketing to complement your brand ambassador program; these content creators have broader followings and can create more social proof.
Alternatively, you can find content creators that produce credible and expert user-generated content for your brand. Our UGC Studio is just one click away for you to try.