The internet has changed the way consumers search for and buy products and not just because they can buy stuff without ever stepping foot in a store. The internet is changing where and how individuals are getting their buying advice.
Individuals have always trusted word of mouth recommendations from their family and friends above any business’ marketing claims. That’s no less true in the age of ecommerce. The internet effectively expands the network from whom prospective buyers gather information, opinions and reviews about potential purchases. Within this network are individuals perceived to be disinterested experts who exert enormous influence on buying decisions, even though consumers may not know them personally. These are brand ambassadors, and to give your company an edge, you may want to consider actively pursuing this marketing resource.
What Is a Brand Ambassador
A brand ambassador is an avid promoter of your brand. Brand ambassadors may include loyal customers who rave about your products or services any chance they get as well as paid faces, voices and personas (like celebrities). However, the most effective brand ambassadors are unpaid individuals in a position to exert notable influence on buyers’ decisions, such as:
- Industry bloggers
- Activists and consumer rights advocates
- Social media gurus
- Coaches and counselors
- Trendsetters and early adopters
In short, brand ambassadors are the people consumers trust to have their best interests in mind, the people they can consult for honest evaluations of products and services.
Why Consider Recruiting Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors have the potential to:
Expand Your Reach
Brand ambassadors are online and/or real-world community influencers, and one of the defining characteristics of an influencer is someone with a large social network. By advocating your brand to their network, a brand ambassador broadcasts your message to a larger population/demographic than you can reach through your own organic marketing channels.
Increase Consumer Trust
Influencers become influencers because people trust their motives and perspectives. As a result, consumers seek out influencers’ opinions on products and services, confident that the information and reviews they get are reliable and will reflect their own experience with a brand. So, when your brand is promoted by an influencer, consumers—even those with no prior experience with your company—trust your products and services to meet their needs and live up to your promises.
Build Brand Loyalty
The most successful businesses are often the ones that do not have to work so hard to continually build a client base. Instead, they have a loyal following that comes back when they need more/new products and services. Brand ambassadors can encourage your existing customers to deepen their relationship with your company so that they no longer look beyond your company to get the products/services they want and need.
In short, brand ambassadors have the potential to increase the sustainability of your business model.
Where to Get a Brand Ambassador
Effective brand ambassadors are those that consumers trust, so the first step to finding a brand ambassador is to identify where prospective clients may be turning for consumer information:
- Industry bloggers
- Community leaders
Take some time to check out your competition. Do they have brand ambassadors? Who are they?
Once you find individuals who could possibly fill the role, you need to woo them. They need to organically come to trust/prefer/love your brand. All you can do is introduce them. So, you may want to consider introductions like:
- Product samples
- Coupons or promotions
- A targeted email marketing campaign
If you have some social connection with a potential brand ambassador, you may consider a direct proposition—i.e., telling them what you would like them to do with/for your brand.
No matter what strategy you employ to recruit a brand ambassador, understand that your company/brand is developing a relationship with that person. That takes time…as do results from their consumer influence, so be patient with this type of marketing effort.