We see it everyday – actors, musicians, experts, and even dogs talking (or barking) up a storm about a brand that they love. If you didn’t already know, these are called Brand Ambassadors. Due to their influence over a particular community, brands select these recognizable folks to amplify their message surrounding one-off campaigns or long-term programs.
If you heard about Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s recent incident in Rio, you probably heard the subsequent reports over his lost relation$hips with Speedo, Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal. Why did these companies drop their deals with Lochte? Because every action he takes is a direct reflection onto their brand.
While the decorated Olympian’s behavior during the summer games was reprehensible, at one point, Lochte did have a squeaky clean image, which is why he was able to align with some powerful brands.
If you are looking to implement a Brand Ambassador program to supplement your public relations or social media marketing strategy, here are some questions you should ask yourself from the get-go:
What are my goals?
Think about your company’s overall marketing goals and determine how you foresee an Ambassador program helping you get there. From there, you can plan what your ask is going to be of that person. These terms should be clearly outlined so all parties are clear on the relationship.
What are my values?
Look at or create a brand persona and find an ambassador who fits those credentials, or one who reflects who where you want to be. Consumers follow companies that they can identify with, so its’ important to have a strong knowledge of who you are and who your audience is. Also, you probably don’t value someone who is already working with one of your competitors… so make sure you do your research. (Bonus tip: this is also a good time to outline your PR crisis plan for when an endorsement goes wrong).
What’s my budget?
Brand Ambassador programs can fit within most budgets, as long as you properly manage your expectations. Well-known public figures will obviously cost more than a social influencer with a strong following, but both can still deliver great results.
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What are my metrics?
Develop a set of key performance indictors (KPIs) to measure the success of your brand ambassador program. If you ask your ambassadors to post on social media, are you looking for engagement or overall exposure through impressions? How does your program impact website traffic and sales? A brand ambassador may also be open to giving you insights on the content that works best based on their own analytics.
Aligning with an A-list celebrity or athlete will be a different experience than teaming up with a social influencer or industry expert, but each type of relationship has its own way of helping you achieve your goals. You just need to determine what’s important to you, what you can realistically make work, and then get going!
Do you have any tips for selecting Brand Ambassadors? Tell us the comments below or on Twitter @lotus823!